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Wisconsin football recruiting: Garrett Rand to visit; updates on wide receivers

A blue chip visit, plenty of potential commits, and maybe UW starts getting cornerbacks?

Four-star defensive lineman Garrett Rand will visit Madison soon.
Four-star defensive lineman Garrett Rand will visit Madison soon.
Student Sports

As it stands right now, we are currently in a dead period for recruiting. Any contact between a coach and recruit has to be initiated by the recruit, so things on the Wisconsin Badgers recruiting front have been a little quiet.

We're about to see things heat up, though. June was a perception-changing run of commitments for Wisconsin. What's coming for July... and beyond?

Garrett Rand will visit

On July 16, the Badgers will have the chance to sway an out-of-state recruit that would be the biggest get in their class in 247Sports composite top-120 prospect and U.S. Army All-American defensive tackle Garrett Rand. Rand, a four-star prospect out of Chandler (Hamilton), Ariz., spoke with 247Sports' Evan Flood and said the plan is for Rand to be in Wisconsin, if not Madison, for a week.

Again, I'll tell you that this isn't a scenario to expect a commitment for the Badgers here. Yes, Rand's mother does come from Wisconsin, and that is an advantage. But Rand does have interest from Arizona State, UCLA, and Washington. And he seems to want to take official visits before making a final commitment decision.

But Saint Petersburg (Admiral Farragut Academy), Fla., safety Craig Watts was looking to make a decision on July 14, before he decided to commit on his visit to Wisconsin. Yes, that's totally anecdotal, and seems like it's turned out to be a disappointment.

Madison in the summer is a place that can change some minds, so am I going to say watch this space? Yeah, I suppose I am.

The Badgers could get a commitment at wide receiver

I'm not going to tell you to lock it down for Kansas City (Rockhurst), Mo., four-star athlete A.J. Taylor, but the plan remains that Taylor is going to commit to a program on August 1. Missouri is going to be in it to the end, with's Derek Young believing anyone other than the Tigers landing Taylor would be a surprise, though the Badgers are the favorites here per 247Sports' Crystal Ball rankings. With all that is going on former Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Jamil Kamara, getting a commitment from Taylor becomes all important.

He might not be the first receiver to come commit to "The W," however. Demari Simpkins, the speedster from Hollywood (Hallendale) Fla. is set to visit Madison on July 21 ($). You look at his interest list and you see that the Badgers seem on the outside. With that said, the Badgers do hold two things that would be of interest to Simpkins -- the best offer, and the over-the-top speed to be a consistent target on the play action portion of the Badgers' offense.

If you want another Texas receiver that the Badgers look like they're in strong contention for? How about we talk about Southlake (Carroll) super-name athlete Lil' Jordan HumphreyHumphrey has listed three schools that he wants to visit. Wisconsin is one. Cal and Texas are the other two. Sure, it's going to be a battle, but anytime you can go after a prospect named Lil' Jordan, you have to.

How the secondary builds itself

With the de-commitment of Watts, we're looking at a situation where one could wager the majority of the attention would turn to Owings Mills (McDonogh School), Md., four-star prospect Eric Burrell. The Badgers are waiting for September when Burrell can schedule an official visit, and let's be honest -- they didn't stop going after Burrell seriously even when they had Watts. If they end up going in another direction, they're still going to give Burrell their most aggressive pitch.

If there are reasons as to why Watts is reopened his recruitment from the Badgers, the expectation looks like that Patrick Johnson II from the Bullis School in Washington D.C. has been receiving all the energy that was going to be if the Badgers were looking for a third safety, and Burrell wasn't going to be an option. One can understand why -- he's decently sized, has a quality 40-yard dash time as a safety, and even as a sophomore in high school, he flashed quality hands and concentration to catch passes as a receiver.

Yeah, he doesn't have a four-star grade, but he does have an offer sheet dotted with some impressive schools (Georgia, Michigan State, and Oklahoma). The plan is that he gets on campus before the month is over ($). And he would be a very intriguing piece for defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to puzzle around with.

As for cornerback? In the Rand podcast, Flood reported that Gibsonton (East Bay), Fla., defensive back K.J. Sails was also set to be a visitor this month, and the three-star prospect would be an excellent foundational piece. Tariq Young from Lakeland, Fla. is a speedster who surprisingly remains under the radar. He's planning a July visit as well ($). If he visits, it could be a commit for the Badgers.

Recruiting is a strange business. Odds are, the Badgers are gonna get hit again. Enjoy the highs. We'll get you through the lows. The ride goes on. I'll avoid the scheduled closer.