Recruiting usually is quiet for August. You have the start of two-a-days and the logistical impossibility of making many visits. It's usually time for consolidation and looking at the state of play for February 2017. But sometimes you get a nice surprise on the trail. And let's start our talk there.
Kendric Pryor and the state of wide receiver
Late Wednesday night, the Badgers landed a commitment from Homewood (Ill.) Flossamor wide receiver Kendric Pryor, and while it did have something to do with the delightful combination of best offer plus being recruited at the position he wanted to be at, Pryor does have upside to him.
With a reported 40-time in the 4.4 range, and a vertical jump of 38". Pryor has the potential athleticism to make plays as a vertical threat at receiver, as he opened his high school season with 134 yards and two touchdowns on four catches. Granted, he might be a prospect where the initial offer at cornerback turns out to be his final position, but with the fluid athleticism and leaping ability he's shown, he's definitely going to be a prospect to keep an eye out for as his senior season goes along.
As the meta-game goes, this also makes the Badgers receiver board crystal clear. Southlake, Tex., (Southlake Carroll) athlete Lil' Jordan Humphrey is the A-1 top prospect on the board. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (South Plantation)'s Anthony Julmisse is probably running second, with Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge) Malik Harrison being third. You could also consider Humphrey like you would a Thomas Schaffer in that he's probably a three-star prospect that's not going to be off the board because you find there's a lot of interest at the position.
Also, while this might probably be worth the grain of salt that I'm asking you to take this for, the Badgers have made some early 2017 offers to wide receiver prospects that reside in the Land of Lincoln in four-star Naperville wide receiver Isaiah Robertson and four-star Oak Lawn prospect Ricky Smalling. Robertson might be the top 2017 receiver in the Midwest with offers from Iowa and Maryland to contend with. Smalling is close on the star ratings and with only offers from Illinois and Virginia to currently contend with?
I'm not going to tell you that the Badgers are going to grab both players by the weekend, but having a head start on a couple of talented receivers whose only other offers are schools you can beat on the trail is only a bad time when you get a national power swooping in.
Which won't happen here, clearly.
Updates on Cole Van Lanen, Eric Burrell
Cole Van Lanen: 247Sports moved Green Bay, Wis. (Bay Port)'s Van Lanen up to being the 25th best player in the nation by their metric, number one in Wisconsin. Their composite rankings still hold him as the 191st-ranked player in the country, with Scout.com having him as the 184th-ranked. Sure, Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead) Ben Brederson's still the top consensus prospect in Wisconsin, but if a respected recruiting source like 247Sports thinks Van Lanen is a blue chipper, it's a warm comfort.
Eric Burrell: The big visit weekends are currently shaping up to be when Hawaii comes on September 26, and Iowa on October 3. But, the Badgers have a star prospect in line to visit for the Northwestern game on November 21. The Owings Mills, Md.(McDonogh School) safety Eric Burrell recently made his official visit plans for Wisconsin for that game. The four-star prospect is definitely an automatic take even if the Badgers get in a position to win back Craig Watts' commitment.
I don't expect the Badgers to get closing ups with Burrell as I type this, because with that said, Duke did have a lot of interest with him at one point and Iowa still holds interest -- but the Badgers are in good shape here.
Xavier Simpson: Yes, it's a little bit of basketball to close out. With the recent commitment of West Linn, Ore. point guard Peyton Pritchard to Oregon, the Badgers are down to two point guards for one potential scholarship. Gig Harbor, Wash. four-star point guard JaQuori McLaughlin is set up for an official visit for the weekend of September 19 -- but there's an interesting situation developing with another guard.
Simpson is a high four-star point guard from Lima, OH. While he's a tad undersized at 5'11, he's a good distributor and he can attack the basket. He has a top four that includes Illinois, Iowa State, and Miami (Fla.), and his visit on Friday does give the Badgers closing ups on the official visit run. It's a chance to close on a gutsy future leader.
BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull spoke with Simpson's father earlier this week about this weekend's visit:
According to Simpson's father, who cited the longevity and stability of the Wisconsin program as major factors, the four-star Simpson will take an official visit to Wisconsin's campus this weekend.
"We're coming Friday and leaving Sunday," Quincey Simpson told BadgerNation. "We're excited to see what they have to offer."