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Wisconsin football recruiting: Cole Van Lanen, A.J. Taylor among Badgers commits with big potential

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Talking potential early impacts and longer-term outlooks for Wisconsin's crop of 2016 recruits.

Who from this class will make the earliest impact for Wisconsin?

Andrew Rosin: I will take the obvious answer: Anthony Lotti. Yes, the punter. You get a guy with a big leg who is taking over for someone who was bottom-three in the Big Ten in terms of punting average for the last three seasons, and you just have to be merely OK to have a success. Lotti is better than that.

Kevin O'Connell: As we've seen with Sojourn Shelton and, to a lesser extent, Lubern Figaro, true freshman defensive backs have a history of early playing time in recent years at Wisconsin. With the uncertainty at the safety position, I think Eric Burrell has a chance to make an early impact in the secondary. At 6'0, 180 pounds, Burrell has the size to fill the void of Tanner McEvoy if converted cornerback D'Cota Dixon or rising sophomore Arrington Farrar don't win the job.

Jake Kocorowski: I agree with Andrew that Lotti should be able to challenge for that starting punter position very early on. He averaged over 45 yards per punt (almost 44 yards net) his senior season, and is a two-time first-team all-state selection. As BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull noted on our last podcast, you don't hand out scholarships to specialists like that unless you feel they can deliver early and often. The Georgia native has that mindset to get the job done.

Another name is A.J. Taylor. Offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore said on Wednesday that the Missouri athlete -- who shone in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January -- has the ability to play outside and inside as a receiver. Gilmore also noted how Taylor has the mental ability to take on head coach Paul Chryst's pro-style offense, and he's not worried about the physical aspect.

Who from this class will make the biggest impact over the course of his career?

Rosin: That's an interesting question, because there are some real high-upside prospects who if they even only pan out most of the way would be really good. You could say Quintez Cephus or Isaiahh Loudermilk and turn out to be correct, and it also goes without saying that the Badgers landed some real talent in the trenches.

As it stands right now, the Badgers haven't had somebody at receiver as physically gifted as Taylor for a long time. We saw that Gilmore is really good at getting a lot out of receivers whose development seemed to have atrophied under the previous regime; imagine what he does with someone like Taylor from day one.

O'Connell: This class has a number of players who I think will have long, successful careers at Wisconsin, including Taylor. But the safest bet has to be Green Bay native and offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen. He will add depth to the the line in his first couple of years on campus and should step into a starting role at some point to become the next dominant Wisconsin lineman. At 6'5, 280 pounds, he has the frame and physical tools to be an All-Big Ten offensive lineman while at UW.

Kocorowski: Van Lanen, as well as his fellow four-star commit in Garrett Rand, definitely have the potential to make their time at Wisconsin count. Chryst mentioned both in the press conference when asked about them, noting how Van Lanen could be someone "special."

Rand, with his physical tools, is basically college-ready to contribute if he can pick up the mental aspects of the game as a freshman. That's saying something, especially with the depth of UW's defensive line. It could be the beginning of a great career for Rand, with his physical attributes and intangibles, anchoring a deep line for the next four seasons.