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Wisconsin football recruiting: S Craig Watts decommits from Badgers

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Wisconsin loses one of its top commits in the 2016 cycle.

Student Sports

Four-star Saint Petersburg (Admiral Farragut Academy), Fla., safety Craig Watts decommitted from Wisconsin on Friday, he announced in a tweet.

"After talking it over with my family and Wisconsin coaches. I chose to decommit from Wisconsin and reopen my recruitment," Watts wrote.

Watts was Wisconsin's second verbal commitment of the day on June 20, joining four-star Green Bay (Bay Port), Wis., offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen. At the time, landing Watts seemed like a huge deal for the Badgers. Watts is the No. 16 safety in the class of 2016 according to 247Sports' composite rankings and 247's own rankings have him at No. 9. More impressive, perhaps, was his offer sheet -- Watts picked Wisconsin from a list of 40 offers, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss and several others.

Watts' commitment came while he was on his unofficial visit to Madison, making him UW's first ever four-star recruit from Florida.

At 6'0, 189 pounds, Watts was expected to play strong safety for the Badgers. Wisconsin does also have a safety commit in Seth Currents, who committed on May 30. That's a big deal because Wisconsin will graduate seven or so defensive backs after this upcoming season.

So, what happened? Well... we don't really know. That offer sheet paints the fullest part of his picture, as it's very possible some of those other big-name offers continued to weigh on Watts' mind.

Watts also took a visit to Colorado ($) less than a week after his commit and visit to Wisconsin. That's not entirely unusual, a verbal commit continuing to do his due diligence. There weren't any subsequent indications that Watts might be tempted by the Buffs, but there also weren't any reaffirmations of his commitment to Wisconsin.

This is definitely a bummer for Wisconsin, no doubt. Entering the day, Wisconsin's 2016 recruiting class ranked No. 28 in 247's composite rankings, No. 30 in Rivals' and No. 29 in Scout's. Watts was also expected to play a significant factor in Wisconsin's ongoing recruitment of Keldric Preston, a three-star defensive end from Tampa (Robinson), Fla., who is reportedly close to committing.

Where could the Badgers look next at safety? A look at B5Q's ongoing list of known targets points to two names in particular: four-star Owings Mills (McDonogh School), Md., safety Eric Burrell and Damascus, Md., safety Jake Funk. The Badgers offered Burrell on Feb. 15 and it's not believed that he has visited Madison yet, although he is expected to make an official visit sometime this fall. The Badgers offered Funk on May 1 and he camped at UW last month.

Another target could be Patrick Johnson, a three-star athlete from Potomac (The Bullis School), Md., whom the Badgers are believed to be looking at as a safety. He could also be close to committing.