The Wisconsin Badgers’ class of 2019 expanded this past weekend with the verbal commitments of projected safety Bryson Shaw and wide receiver Nolan Groulx. With seven known commits so early on, Wisconsin currently holds the No. 3 spot in the 2019 rankings according to 247Sports.
A four-star commit via 247Sports and a three-star prospect by Rivals, Groulx is Wisconsin’s first wide receiver for this young yet promising class.
The Cornelius, N.C. (William Amos Hough) standout, who came into Madison for his unofficial visit that started last Friday and included taking in a hockey game with wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore and director of player personnel Saeed Khalif, committed to head coach Paul Chryst with his parents in the room in his office a day later.
“We were talking, and I ended up committing, which was the plan all along,” Groulx said on Tuesday. “When that happened, coach Chryst just stood up and gave me a hug and was really excited. Then once I walked out of the room, the whole coaching staff was there and they were all were giving me hugs, and it was a great experience to be able to experience that. The fact they were all so excited, it was awesome.”
As seen with other Wisconsin wide receivers, Groulx’s junior-year highlights showcases a versatile player at the position who can be used in a variety of different ways.
Listed between 5’11 and 6’0 and 185 pounds depending upon which recruiting service you look at, Groulx has been used out of the backfield, motioning out of said backfield into into the slot, split out wide, and in a tight formation.
“They’ve talked about this a lot with me, and they see me in the outside line, as how coach Gilmore explains it,” Groulx said on Tuesday. “Just being strong enough to get off the line and my separation with my route running, and also definitely in the slot.
“They see me running slot a lot and also taking the jet sweeps and running across the line, so coach Gilmore sees using me in a lot of ways, which was really helpful in my decision, just the fact that they believe in me.”
Where Groulx excels is with his route-running ability, which is evident in his junior Hudl highlights. Looking at the film, his cuts are impressive, throwing off and sometimes turning around opposing prep defenders and allowing him to create necessary separation to reel in a throw.
“Definitely in the route-running aspect,” Groulx said when asked what he believes is his biggest strength. “I’ve very quick in and out of my breaks and able to get off the line. Just trying to work on my craft at receiver and the techniques of the receiver, and just the quickness helps me a lot, so that’s probably the biggest aspect of my game.”
After the catch or with the ball is in his hands on a rush, there is that quickness and elusiveness that allowed him to gain all-important yards after the catch, as seen in the variety of screens and short passes used by his high school’s offense.
As seen in a couple of catches, he also showed the ability to fight or come back to a contested ball.
Wisconsin’s 2018 class includes the likes of Michigan natives A.J. Abbott and early enrollee Taj Mustapha at wide receiver, and it should bear watching the possibilities of Aron Cruickshank and Isaac Guerendo—the latter two designated as “athletes” by the coaching staff during the early signing period in December.
With Groulx stating he is “fully committed” to Wisconsin, the coaching staff now has another multi-faceted playmaker in a pipeline that is feeding a very deep position group for Gilmore and his staff.