After the Wisconsin Badgers finished putting up that wall around the state with the commitment of left tackle Tyler Beach on April 3, the recruiting trail has gone somewhat quiet. That's not to say the Badgers are in a dead zone, but they are already at eight commitments in a class where going above 20 would be a stretch. When you remember that there are a couple of candidates the Badgers are going after on the transfer market, a two-month deluge of offers and news is not likely going to happen.
Still, you definitely can look at the state of the field in an attempt to see where the Badgers might go next, and where they might be done. So, strap in, prepare to yell at the state of recruiting at one position, rejoice at the state of recruiting at another, and make sure you stick around for the shocking finale.
Quarterback: While West Sayville, N.Y., three-star Jack Coan might have lost a fourth-star in transit during camp season, he's definitely a prospect talented enough that Wisconsin can get away with just one quarterback in this class. He's a mobile prospect and can make all the throws. Considering how UW's quarterbacks have been looking during the spring, Coan could ostensibly start on day one of 2017. It's just a question of how fast his transition is.
Running back: A.J. Dillon was going to be a tough pull when the Badgers had to go up against Florida State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Then, the Badgers had a prospect seemingly in the bag who was a clear favorite -- presuming they were sufficiently clear on whether their scholarship offer was committable -- before going quiet and seeing Ivory Kelly-Martin commit to Iowa. Unless there was a certain reason from a certain subset of reasons regarding a certain academic clearinghouse, this situation will add another log to the fiery agita that has been Wisconsin's recruiting efforts at what should be one of the easiest positions to pitch.
Previewing Badgers' 2017 needs on offense
Wisconsin could have a smaller-than-usual 2017 recruiting class. Here's who the Badgers might end up with.
With that said, the Badgers could find out that they have bad news in regard to the potential transfer of Chris James and still probably have six or seven months to find a replacement back. The talent pool is deep enough that even if they miss on a top-rated target like recent high-four-star offer Colin Wilson, all-purpose back Khalan Laborn or Canadian supername Chuba Hubbard, there are still plenty of interesting sleeper-type backs the Badgers have at least shown some interest in, like Davion Johnson from West Broomfield, Mich., Jaelen Greene from Tyrone, Ga., or Justin Brown from New Caanan, Conn.
Short story longer? I get it if you're thinking that somebody should do something about the running back position. But there's still plenty of time if you're some kind of optimist. And me, I got to be positive about something.
Wide receiver: Here's where the offensive side of the ball starts to get interesting, because while the Badgers are on the periphery for some exciting names like Antoine Thompson or Isaiah Robertson, it seems as if they might be able to get away with just having Austin, Texas, two-star sleeper Cade Green at wide receiver. That's not to say the Badgers are done. It's just that they can let the game come to them at this position.
Tight end: The last time I did one of these, I only mentioned in-city athlete Jake Ferguson as a target for tight end. It was not unreasonable to think that his bloodlines would lead to an eventual commit, after all. And when he committed on March 31, the Badgers had their needs at tight end satisfied. This is likely the easiest position they will recruit for the entire year.
Offensive line: This looks like the jewel of the class and a credit to the Badgers for rebuilding the wall around Wisconsin so quickly after Gary Andersen controversially left openings. You have one of the top guards in the country in Kayden Lyles, a four-star with size and the good feet to play left tackle in Beach, a mean mauler with a motor in guard Logan Bruss and an athletic developmental prospect in tackle Alex Fenton. It looks to be one of the strengths of the class of 2017, and it seems like it settled 10 months before National Signing Day.
So for the offensive side of the ball, expect most, if not all, of the remaining focus moving toward the running back position. There might be a wide receiver that comes into play, but it looks like most of the interest will come from seeing which running back comes to summer camp and shines. That prospect might be the last piece to this offensive puzzle.
Check back on Monday for an in-depth look at where Wisconsin's recruiting efforts stand on defense.