It's likely going to be a quiet few weeks on the recruiting trail. There's no decision date looming on any Badger target that Wisconsin's contending with for the class of 2016, but outside of that screaming position of need that is cornerback, the Badgers are in position to just grab the best players they're contending for in a lot of places. It's a good spot to be in.
In that spirit, we'll start looking ahead for 2017 in positions where everything seems like they're good. So, let's break it down positionally, shall we?
Quarterback: The Badgers have Kare' Lyles for 2016, and the Saguaro, Ariz., quarterback is currently solid. But the weird thing is that the Badgers currently don't have an offer in play for 2017 yet. It's starting to trend that the first commits of a class are the signal callers and the Badgers being without one is a little odd, but you have to suppose that the mishagoes of the admissions office kind of force you to have to go the extra mile to make sure the academics are locked down.
Also, this is the position where Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst is usually really good at evaluation. So it's far from panic time, but it does warrant mentioning.
Running Back: If junior Corey Clement declares for the NFL Draft, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Badgers attempt to make a late offer for a running back. You can reasonably expect Deon McIntosh, the 247Sports' composite three-star prospect from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., (Cardinal Gibbons), would be a January target if he doesn't land a commitment. You can also unreasonably hope that they can flip a prospect that committed to another school in January. But odds are the Badgers would double up on the class of 2017. As it stands, there's nothing in the tea leaves here for that season quite yet.
Wide Receiver: This is one of the two positions where the Badgers are still in the market for multiple players at the position. Kansas City (Rockhurst) athlete A.J. Taylor is a great start at the position, and the Badgers are in a good position for several good talents. The composite three-star athlete Lil'Jordan Humphrey -- who stands 6'4 -- is the top target out of Southlake, Texas (Carroll).
The Badgers are also currently in a good position for three-star Arlington, Tex.(Lamar), Kofi Boateng as well as Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (South Plantation), prospect Anthony Julmisse. They're also leaders for Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge) athlete Malik Harrison, and Pompano Beach, Fla. (Blanche Ely), two-star Thomas Geddis ($).
Interestingly, the word is they might be considering Flossmoor, Ill., prospect Kendric Pryor at receiver ($). While he's been offered at cornerback, receiver is the position he's more interested in, and while Iowa State and UConn are both offering at receiver, formalizing the offer from Wisconsin at receiver likely makes them leaders. He spoke with Scout.com about the recruiter process back in early August.
Tight End: The Badgers are locked in here with three-star Salisbury, Conn. (Salisbury School), Jake Hescock. You have a 6'7 guy that can move people off the trenches. He's a tight end that can make some plays for what the Badgers want to do and relatively quickly. My assumption is that if long snapper slash handsome devil Jacob Ceasar sees the field? It will be more as a tight end than receiver, as the middle of the trenches is no place to be under 200 pounds.
For 2017, the Badgers are in play for three-star tight end prospect from Cincinnati, Ohio (Moeller), Jake Dotson. He's 6'5 and listed at 225 lbs. He's also pretty athletic at his level and usually uses his hands instead of his body to catch passes. The Badgers are going up against Penn State, Ohio State, or Tennessee, among others. Obviously, that's going to be a battle. If the Badgers fall short, Madison, Wis. (Memorial), prospect Jake Ferguson -- current Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez's grandson and younger brother of redshirt sophomore safety Joe Ferguson -- could be slotted in as a tight end .
Offensive Line: In terms of who's been offered, the Badgers look like they're all in on Michael Alves. He's a composite three star guard out of San Diego, Calif. (St. Augustine) with a ready made 6'5, 320 pound frame. The Badgers are definitely in it, as Alves plans on visiting ($). That said? The Badgers are going up against Arizona State, Oregon, Washington, and UCLA. That's gonna be a battle.
Otherwise, it's probably going to take a visit to "Flip City" for the Badgers to finish out their class. Prospects who have had a previous strong interest that the Badgers hadn't offered quite yet include Western Michigan commit and Brookfield, Wis. (Brookfield East), guard Mike Caliendo as well as West Virginia commit and Wildwood, Mo. (Lafayette), guard Chase Behrndt.
Defensive Line: If the Badgers can land commitments from highly-touted recruits Garrett Rand or Thomas Schaffer, they can and will take them. If they can land them both, everybody would be thrilled. If they can land one, it will be a good day. But in terms of personnel, they don't need another prospect. The Badgers are currently in the top three for the three-star Schaffer, though going up against Oregon and Stanford is a challenge. As for the four-star Rand? He's planning on announcing a top five on Monday and is apparently up to 550 pounds on the bench press.
Linebacker: As it stands right now, the most interesting news since Bryce Youngquist joined the Sooners is the Badgers making an offer to Juwuan Jones for the class of 2017. Jones is a 247 composite three-star inside linebacker from Buford, Ga. And the Badgers do have the first offer advantage here. He plays sideline-to-sideline and hits explosively. He's currently a top-20 junior inside linebacker in the nation, and the Badgers got in on the ground floor.
Cornerback: If it gets to October and the Badgers don't have a commitment, I'll agree it's time to make with the panic. But they are still in strong contention for plenty of cornerbacks. Of the contenders, Therran Coleman out of Pittsburgh and K.J. Sails out of Gibsonton, Fla. (East Bay) are the automatic takes no matter how the board shakes out. South Florida commit Armunz Matthews is likely a take as well. Hussein Howe and Ke'Shan Pennamon from Jacksonville, Fla. are also strongly interested. DeSoto, Tex., cornerback A.J. Green, Kissimmee, Fla., (Osceola)'s Carlos Becker, and Temecula, Calif., (Linfield Christian School) Lorenzo Burns have put the Badgers in contention, though it is a more fringy state.
That's eight names the Badgers are still strongly in play for at the position. The Badgers bat .500 here (or less if the news is good at safety), and they don't have to look at South Alabama commit Simeon Smiley or Atlanta, Ga., (Central Gwinnett) prospect Antonio Oliver. And there's still Pryor hanging out and maybe playing corner if receiver might be a bridge too far. There's a lot of three-stars on the board. It's worth paying attention to, but we're not at "oh God, everybody panic yet."
Safety: It's a very similar situation to the defensive line. In terms of personnel, the Badgers are solid with Pickerington, Ohio (Central) three-star Seth Currens as well as Washington D.C. (Gillis School) free safety Patrick Johnson II -- but they're still going after Owings Mills, Md. (McDonogh School) four-star safety Eric Burrell as well as former commit in St. Petersburg, Fla. safety Craig Watts. If the Badgers get both, the cornerback situation gets personnel help with the hybrid skills of Johnson and one of the four-stars. They get one? Johnson can be reslotted as a corner. None? It would be disappointing, but they won't be down at the position.
Special Teams: With Anthony Lotti as the future punter and Ceasar at longsnapper, the only position the Badgers don't have something incoming is kicker, and the tears of fellow B5Q writer Drew Hamm if Rafael Gaglianone gets competition, while funny to me, it wouldn't be worth it to have a scholarship for a three-year kicker.
I did the math. It's close, but unless Hamm goes on a one-man riot squad at the McClain Center it wouldn't be.worth it. And the chances are too low. Sad face.
Anyway, as you can tell, the Badgers are in shape for a pretty strong class. With a little luck and elbow grease, the defense has a chance to have some hype to it. With what the offense already has committed, it's a class that could standout even further.