Compared to the last couple of Januaries on the recruiting trail, Wisconsin's class of 2016 was pretty close to calm throughout the cycle. Despite the Badgers losing Dave Aranda to LSU, there was only word of two players who were wavering.
On Monday, three-star Jacksonville, Fla. (West Nassau County), cornerback Ke'Shan Pennamon took to Twitter and reaffirmed his commitment to Wisconsin. Monday night, four-star Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton), defensive tackle Garrett Rand made the decision to reaffirm his hown commitment to Wisconsin, according to azcentral.com.
After first committing to Wisconsin in early October, Rand reserved the right to look around while the Badgers sought their eplacement for Aranda, ultimately taking a visit to UCLA and listening to Arizona State making a late pitch. But after Wisconsin officially named Justin Wilcox as defensive coordinator, an in-home visit helped the Badgers stem the tide of the other schools making a late charge.
A U.S. Army All-American, Rand will be the centerpiece of the defensive class for Wisconsin. He joins a deep class on the line with Tyler Biadasz at defensive tackle as well as Isaiahh Loudermilk and Luke Benzschawel.
Simply put, holding onto Rand is huge for Wisconsin. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Rand is the second-highest rated player in UW's 2016 class, with a 0.9219 four-star rating trailing only fellow four-star prospect, offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen at 0.9343.
One interesting note from the azcentral.com report: Rand is especially appreciative of the extensive attention he's received from top colleges considering his hard fight to overcome dyslexia.
Rand, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, is appreciative of the pursuit colleges made for him. He also is appreciative of all of the coaches, from youth league through high school, who helped his development as a football player.
But he said he never would have a Signing Day if not for New Way Academy, which helped him with his dyslexia in the sixth grade.
"He had five different forms of dyslexia," said Tomaara, Garrett's mom. "We were trying to find something that would help. He needed more one-on-one help."
The Rands were led to New Way Academy in Phoenix.
"His sixth-grade year he was at a fourth-grade reading level," Tomaara said. "He was being teased. That school changed his life."
Read more on azcentral.com.