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Wisconsin football recruiting: The impact of WR A.J. Abbott’s commitment to the Badgers

He’s definitely going to gain at least one star in transit between his junior and senior seasons.

AJ Abbott Student Sports

The run of commitments the Wisconsin Badgers’ recruiting class has been on continued Friday as the Badgers landed a commitment from West Bloomfield, Mich., two-star wide receiver A.J. Abbott. He joins Thursday commit and new high school teammate Taj Mustapha as the publicly-known Badger receivers for the class of 2018.

On the physical side, Abbott is the sort of physical receiver that Ted Gilmore loves to bring in, with a height north of 6’0 (6’1 or 6’2 depending on the recruiting source you trust most) and speed (he ran 40-yard dashes at multiple camps in the 4.4-second range). And his Hudl profile shows that he can use that speed on the field. Abbott has an ability to make the first defender miss when he gets a short pass in space, and he can get a chunk of yardage off of that. He can also beat cornerbacks in a vertical situation, and obviously he can get a bigger chunk of yardage off of that.

Abbott also uses his athleticism to go up and get a pass when in a tighter coverage situation. Obviously, there are a lot of bubble screens and go routes on the highlight reel. But with that said, he’s transferring from Northville to West Bloomfield, and he’ll spend his senior season under the tutelage of head coach Ron Bellamy, who was a successful Big Ten wide receiver and played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins. It’s an opportunity to hone the skills on the field, and as Mustapha’s Hudl shows, get in on the run-blocking skills that the Badger receivers need if they wish to see the field quickly.

Recruiting-wise, Abbott was one of those whom the Wisconsin offer was the bellwether that got him to the next level in terms of regard. Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, and Purdue offered Abbott after the Badgers’ initial offer, but even after the Spartans involved themselves in the race, Abbott silently committed to Wisconsin after his last visit. And Scout’s Ben Worgull tweeted out a rather fun fact in regards to the current state of recruiting in Michigan:

Obviously, that’s going to change for Sparty, but winning recruiting battles in Michigan against a team that made the playoffs in 2015 is pretty swell.

Elsewhere at wide receiver, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Erasmus Hall) athlete Aron Cruickshank has the pure speed that has the recruiting sources calling him an automatic take no matter how the rest of the class goes. And Cruickshank is a step or two faster than both Abbott and Mustapha, so he’s an easy potential commitment to support beyond the lyrical last name. For other prospects like Dallas Craddieth and Issac Guernedo, they both look likely to move on depending on how roster attrition shakes out. But we won’t know that until camp opens in July.