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Wisconsin football recruiting: The impact of Alex Smith’s commitment

He may not have been expected to be UW’s first cornerback commit, but there’s a lot to like on the field.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Those whom were watching to see how the Wisconsin Badgers filled up the rest of their class of 2018 knew that the Badgers were in need of multiple prospects to boost the depth at cornerback.

Going into middle June, the expectation was at least half of the question was going to be answered. That said, those who watch these things were not expecting the first commitment at the position to be Culver City, Calif.’s Alexander Smith—who tweeted his verbal pledge to the Badgers late Tuesday evening.

That’s not to say that he’s just some kind of spot stealer. Far from it.

Look at his Hudl profile, and you have a prospect where the acceleration and athleticism is absolutely there. It is hard to be a dominant kickoff returner without it. He also can use his size to press defenders off the blocks when he’s in man coverage, and being listed between 6’-6’1 and 165-185 pounds (depending upon which recruiting service you prefer) will allow him to be at the very least willing in run support when he makes the transition to college. He also has the sort of frame where you can add 15 to 20 pounds of muscle and not lose that athleticism.

Still, he is a little bit of positionless prospect in the secondary. There are times he’s playing cornerback on the reel, then there are times where he’s playing safety. It’s less of a concern with a prospect from Culver City than it would be from New Berlin, Wis., but the ball skills at cornerback are definitely something that could use improvement.

However, the Badgers did land themselves a prospect with that upside. With the perception of not many scholarship spots available left in the class of 2018 due to a smaller senior class, it looks like it could be down to out-of-state recruits Marquis Williams or Travian Blaylock at cornerback, with the latter visiting on Friday. The Badgers also recently landed in the top 10 for an underrated three-star prospect in Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips) defensive back Tanner Ingle. Spots are likely going to be tight, so how this position group pans out in this recruiting cycle will bear watching.