The Tuf Borland commitment to Ohio State stings. You can't help but have it not. The Badgers led for a legacy, but you know what? Ohio State got last ups. Give head coach Urban Meyer last ups on a prospect, and he's gonna close. It's not fatal, after all, the way defensive coordinator Dave Aranda sets up a defense, you can feel comfortable in having under-starred prospects that are at linebacker.
If you notice just how the last two Januarys have fallen toward the bad, it's something to keep in the back of your mind during poaching season.
That said, it's April. The Badgers have a lot of linebackers they're in play for. I mean as I write this, there are still six linebackers that you can consider as winnable prospects for the Badgers. Plus, more are coming on unofficial visits.
You want to talk about "mikes" and "wills" and "sams" and whatever the fourth linebacker is cutely named? (Ed. note, Wisconsin calls their outside linebackers "field" and "boundary;" "rover" and "mike/mac" for inside linebackers) You've come to the right place. Though we'll make sure to show love elsewhere, too.
Now we're not going to go deeper into 2017 linebacker/tight end Jake Ferguson on this post, there's been a lot of news about the class of 2016 plus a big cast of characters who visited on Sunday. With that said, you have the grandson of Barry Alvarez who got his first offer from Wisconsin and he's an athletic 6'5 player? This space will be reserved for further discussion of the Madison Memorial class of 2017 prospect.
OLB Jango Glackin
6'3, 205 lbs.
Lebanon, Ohio (IMG Academy)
I'm an aficionado of names, and this is one of my favorites. If you wish to meme him with some kind of Tarantino-ish reference, you're not going to be pedantically accurate, but you kids have fun.
Why I like him has more to do with the athleticism and the fact that he's really tough to get a bead on from blockers when he's going downhill. The Hudl profile lists his 40-time at 4.58 -- and with his motor, at least plays close to that. He takes great pursuit angles, and is tall enough to hold the athleticism after growing into a college prospect. Right now, the momentum all falls the Badgers' way after offering on April 15, though don't count out West Virginia. If and when a commit happens might come down to getting Glackin on campus.
OLB Noah Burks
6'3, 221 lbs.
I do have a tendency to outright steal lines from True Detective when it comes to recruiting, but it works, because you look at a loss like Borland -- it's an upset and it hurts. Then, you see the Badgers make an offer on a visiting prospect Sunday, and it's for a 247Sports four-star (composite three-star) outside linebacker, and you look at the Hudl.
You can't help but be delighted by the things Burks can do. He blitzes. He takes on blockers. He pass rushes, forces fumbles, and penetrates the line of scrimmage with aplomb. Literally, about the only thing Burks didn't do well in that video was look for the dang ball in pass coverage, but he had the athleticism to stay with receivers in pass coverage and can do all those other things.
In short, the offer Sunday was for a real good prospect, and it's an offer that Burks is enthusiastic about.
As it stands right now this is a two-team race between Wisconsin and Maryland. The momentum is on the Badgers side, though there is a scheduled visit to turtle city at the end of May.
OT Jesse Meyler
6'5, 280 lbs.
Alexandria, Va. (Episcopal)
Alexandria, Va. (Episcopal)
In terms of who might be an offer to replace the one that went to Minnesota commitment Sam Schleuter, you'd probably agree that going back into the Old Dominion was not what one would be expecting. Surely someone good enough for an offer from Oklahoma State-like Spencer Kanz or a more regionally inclined player who already visited like Chase Behrndt would have sufficed. (And as you'll see, I do like Behrndt. At least enough to type his last name multiple times in a post).
But the offer went to Meyler, and honestly, you can see why. The offer sheet shows someone who could probably give what for to the academic rigor of Wisconsin (Harvard, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Yale are among the highlights). As for on the field play, what may be the difference is that he already seems to have a ready skill in terms of hand placement, punch, and locking his arms out. He's got good power and can put smaller defenders on skates, but that skill set might mean Meyler has a future as a left tackle. Never a bad thing.
Burks wasn't the only prospect that was on campus yesterday. Wisconsin had prospects from around the Midwest come out and visit Madison on Sunday. We'll give you a list of the names to remember as the recruiting class goes on.
Cole Van Lanen: The 4-star offensive lineman from Bay Port is going to be a part of a star-studded class of visitors that are coming to Madison for this Saturday's spring game. We'll have more on that later. Right now? The fact that he's making multiple visits to Madison on his family's dime and becoming comfortable with the coaching staff ($) is a signal that the Badgers remain the favorites even despite the fact that he's looking to take official visits in the fall ($).
Mason Stokke: The more exuberant of Badger fans might have thought that Stokke's visit to Madison would have led to him becoming the fourth commit. It's going to have to wait another day, but it doesn't seem as if the Badgers hurt themselves for the best 195-pound wrestler in Wisconsin's division one. He might not be the first domino to fall, but the Badgers are in contention for a lot of linebackers. Stokke still looks like he's going to be one.
Nick Niemann: His brother Ben looks like a starter for Iowa this season, and the currently unranked prospect from Sycamore, Ill. is favored to follow in his brothers footsteps. With that said? He likes the Badgers enough to pay them a visit on his own dime despite having Power Five offers from Iowa, Iowa State, and Illinois. However, I just mentioned Iowa has already offered, he's a top target for them, and he will be at their spring game next week.
Chase Behrndt: The three-star guard wins the long distance trophy traveling to Madison from St. Joseph's, Mo. to visit on Sunday. And while he doesn't have an offer yet from Wisconsin, you can definitely see why he's interesting. He might not have the athleticism to hang on as a left tackle, but as a top-notch high school wrestler he understands leverage. Add that to a good motor in just taking dudes out of the play, and you can see why he already has offers from Illinois, Kansas, San Diego State, Syracuse, and Western Michigan. If the Badgers were looking for more than three linemen, they might have already offered here.
So, it's still early. Recruiting is circular. We'll find a way to muddle through. See you Friday.