This weekend marks the beginning of camp season for the Wisconsin Badgers, as high school recruits come to Madison to participate in football camps led by Wisconsin coaches. Sunday, May 31 is the first camp open, with Sunday camps the next three weeks and minicamps scattered throughout the month. There's also a two-day minicamp June 19 & 20.
Some hope to impress the coaching staff to earn a scholarship offer. Will others be on commitment watch? To help us break down which intriguing prospects will camp with the Badgers this weekend, we asked BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull to give us the scoop.
B5Q: Who are some of the names heading into this weekend's camp?
Ben Worgull (BW): This will be a big weekend for offensive linemen. Perhaps the biggest name coming in this weekend is Wildwood (Lafayette), Mo. offensive guard Chase Behrndt, a three-star prospect by Scout.com who has three power five offers from Illinois, Kansas and Syracuse. There are also some big in-state players - Brookfield East's Mike Caliendo (Western Michigan commit), Waukesha West's Sam Heckel and Luxemburg-Casco's Spencer Kanz - who are expected to attend. None of the four mentioned players have Wisconsin offers despite having around 40 combined offers from other schools.
Offensive coordinator/line coach Joe Rudolph's main recruiting focus on the line is Hartland Arrowhead's Ben Bredeson -- Scout.com's top offensive guard in the country - and Green Bay Bay Port's Cole Van Lanen, another four-star prospect, but an offer being extended isn't out of the question if one of the above players shines. Additionally, if Behrndt, Heckel or Kanz gets an offer, Wisconsin would likely become the immediate favorite, with a quick commitment not being out of the question.
B5Q: Out of the players this weekend at Wisconsin's camp, are there potential recruits on commitment watch?
BW: There are always a handful of prospects who appear to come out of nowhere at Wisconsin camp (i.e. players who don't have a lot of stars next to their name or any major offers) and earn a Badgers offer, which usually leads to a quick commit. It'll be interesting to see who the next Chris Borland or Dallas Lewallen will be.
It's hard to pinpoint a commit because 99 percent of kids coming this weekend don't have offers. Unlike past years, however, UW has a lot of available scholarships, meaning the staff could have no problem extending a few scholarships to worthy performers, especially on the dangerously thin offensive line.
B5Q: Are there any potential sleepers out of those in Madison this weekend?
BW: A lot of Wisconsin fans were upset that the Badgers didn't show much attention to Madison Memorial receiver Jester Weah, a tremendous high school athlete on the football field and in track and field. He ended up going to Pittsburgh to play for Paul Chryst. Expected tomorrow is younger brother Jason Weah, a 6'1, 200-pound linebacker. If he's close to the athlete that his older brother is, Chryst and company will certainly be intrigued.
One player that has me intrigued is Rhashaun Epting, a pure two-sport athlete from Chicago at Proviso West High School. Around 6'5 and 210 pounds, Epting plays quarterback for his high school team, has three scholarship offers (North Dakota, Toledo and Western Michigan) and is also regarded as a top 25 hoops prospect in the state. That kind of athlete doesn't come around too often.
B5Q: Besides the players at the camp this weekend, who should Badgers fans be on the lookout to commit to Wisconsin? Is the closest Carmel, Ind. linebacker Noah Burks?
BW: To be 100 percent honest, I wrote about Pickerington (Central), Ohio safety Seth Currens as the player most likely to be on commitment watch this weekend. Wouldn't you know it, he committed after his unofficial visit Saturday afternoon.
Burks has wrapped up a visit to Maryland, which he clearly loved from his Twitter reactions, and says it's "pretty much even" between the Badgers and the Terps. He isn't sure when exactly he'll be selecting his school, though he hinted it would be sometime in June.
"It's going to be a tough decision. I loved Wisconsin and I loved Maryland," Burks told Scout.com. "Maryland was so much better than I though, but Wisconsin was great too. So it's going to be tough."