When you look at Wisconsin’s recruiting class for 2017, you’re almost guaranteed to see the Badgers have a class with more impact than its recruiting rank might indicate. For one thing, the class seems to have landed value with every first-year player committed. For another, this class is rich with transfer goodness. While former Alabama commit Christian Bell might not have an instant impact, the expectations for former Pitt running back Chris James and former Hawaii cornerback Nick Nelson are pretty high.
This week, the Badgers will make a formal pitch to add one more transfer to the class when former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire visits Madison on Wednesday, according to Scout’s Irish Illustrated. Zaire is expected to visit the Badgers on Wednesday and North Carolina on Friday.
We broke down the potential fit when Wisconsin was reported as a finalist in the transfer sweepstakes for Zaire, and nothing has changed. If he were to choose Wisconsin, the lefty would have the mobility in his skill set to have a floor as a change-of-pace quarterback and the moments of brilliance during his time in South Bend to be a potential starter for the one season of eligibility he has remaining. And when you consider his high school history as swell as the visit coming Wednesday—the four-star prospect in 2013 had an offer from Wisconsin and the attention of Chryst at Pitt—the interest is definitely mutual.
With that said, there’s definitely a roadblock to the Badgers getting themselves a different option at quarterback, and it goes beyond the fact that Alex Hornibrook has attempted more passes in one season than Zaire has in three. And this time, I’m not talking about the scholarship math either.
Scout lists North Carolina as the current favorite in the race for Zaire, and like the Badgers, the Tar Heels have a lot to offer. For one thing, current starter Mitch Trubisky has played himself into a first-round grade and seems pretty likely to be jetting off to the NFL once you can officially declare for the draft. What’s left is a redshirt freshman in Nathan Elliott who has nine career pass attempts. For the school in Zaire’s final four that passes the most, it will be enticing.
But Wisconsin has a quarterback position that can be won, a team that could make the playoff in 2017 and a coaching staff that gained ground when Wisconsin initially recruited. Chryst and company have been surprisingly good at recruiting. Questions do remain about the Badgers’ chances, but they definitely have them.