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Where Wisconsin’s 2019 recruiting class stands

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It’s National Signing Day 2018, so why not look ahead to 2019?!

With 2018’s National Signing Day now finished, the next recruiting season is already upon us. Paul Chryst’s Wisconsin Badgers are already making moves for a class that could be unprecedented in terms of ratings.

Since we last looked at the 2019 class back in December, three more players have verbally committed to Wisconsin, making eight recruits in total. That has pushed UW into the third-best overall recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite 2019 team rankings, with four four-star commits.

Here’s an updated picture of this upcoming class, as some competing offers have been made to these players, especially to a particular four-star quarterback from Kansas.

As a reminder, this is still very early in the 2019 recruiting process, so there could always be change. These recruits are just 16 or 17-year-old kids still trying to figure out what’s best for them, not just for the next four years but for a lifetime.

Also a reminder: our policy on tweeting at recruits (TL;DR version: DON’T).

First, let’s look at the newest commits since late December:

S Bryson Shaw

The highly-touted lacrosse recruit, who came from the same school as current Wisconsin safety Patrick Johnson (The Bullis School), verbally committed on Jan. 27.

According to Rivals, Shaw had offers from Northwestern, Pitt, North Carolina, and Boston College. 247Sports also reported offers from Maryland, Duke, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest, Syracuse, and West Virginia.

On Sunday, Shaw tweeted that he received an offer from Ohio State:

WR Nolan Groulx

  • 247Sports (Composite): Three stars; Grade: 0.8667; No. 538 player overall; No. 70 WR; No. 19 NC
  • 247Sports: Four stars; Grade: 90; No. 274 player overall; No. 41 WR; No. 8 NC
  • ESPN: Not rated
  • Rivals: Three stars; 5.5 rating; No. 33 NC

The first wide receiver from this class who committed in the last weekend of January (like Shaw), Groulx possesses some great route-running skills and could be used in a multitude of ways at the position under the guidance of Chryst, offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, and wide receivers coach/offensive pass game coordinator Ted Gilmore.

According to 247Sports, Groulx verbally committed to Wisconsin over the likes of Duke, NC State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, and Clemson, among others.

TE Hayden Rucci

  • 247Sports (Composite): Four stars; Grade: 0.8942; No. 331 player overall; No. 11 TE; No. 3 PA
  • 247Sports: Three stars; Grade: 87; No. 471 player overall; No. 18 TE; No. 10 PA
  • ESPN: Three stars
  • Rivals: Four stars; 5.8 rating, No. 204 player overall; No. 6 TE; No. 2 PA

The latest verbal commit for Wisconsin’s 2019 class, Rucci announced his decision on Monday.

According to 247Sports, Rucci received offers from Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Duke, Boston College, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, Northwestern, Pitt, and Syracuse, among others.

Rucci’s highlights are intriguing as a tight end who appears to combine a physical, tenacious blocking style with the ability to be a factor in the passing game.


These recruits committed before the 2018 early signing period:

OT Logan Brown

  • 247Sports (Composite): Four stars; Grade: 0.9748; No. 41 player overall; No. 7 OT; No. 2 player in Michigan
  • 247Sports: Four stars; Grade: 96; No. 12 player overall; No. 2 OT; No. 1 player in Michigan
  • ESPN: Four stars; Grade 81; No. 194 player overall; No. 19 position (OT); No. 13 Regional; No. 4 State
  • Rivals: Four stars; 6.0 rating; No. 18 player overall; No. 1 MI; No. 2 OT

The nationally-renowned junior verbally committed back on Nov. 19. According to 247Sports, Michigan, Alabama, Penn State, Michigan State, and other Power Five programs offered the four-star standout.

Since our last update, Brown bumped up to the No. 12 player overall in the country in the 247Sports standalone rankings, with his composite rankings now putting him within the top 50 players in the nation.

QB Graham Mertz

  • 247Sports (Composite): Four stars; Grade: 0.8966; No. 305 player overall; No. 7 pro-style QB; No. 3 player in Kansas
  • 247Sports: Three stars; Grade: 88; No. 358 player overall; No. 8 pro-style QB; No. 3 player in Kansas
  • ESPN: Not rated
  • Rivals: Four stars; 5.8 rating; No. 217 player overall; No. 1 MI; No. 6 QB

Chryst, Rudolph, and new quarterbacks coach Jon Budmayr received good news on Oct. 8 when Mertz verbally committed to Wisconsin.

Since then, Mertz’s recruitment has skyrocketed and will be in all likelihood be the one to watch heading into this year. The Kansas product has received recent offers from LSU, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Ole Miss, and Missouri.

According to his junior highlights, Mertz completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,684 yards and 45 touchdowns this past season with only six interceptions. He also performed well at the U.S. Army National Combine last month.

OL Joe Tippmann

Another early offensive lineman for this class, Tippmann received offers from Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, and Cincinnati, per 247Sports. The Fort Wayne, Ind. (Bishop Dwenger) recruit verbally pledged to the Badgers on Dec. 16 and is the most recent commitment in the next recruiting cycle.

RB Julius Davis

The Menomonee Falls, Wis., standout committed just two days after Brown on Nov. 21. According to 247Sports, Davis also received an offer from Buffalo, but once again Wisconsin locked up a prominent in-state commit.

According to WisSports.net, Davis rushed for 1,762 yards (6.9 yards per attempt) with 17 touchdowns during his junior campaign. Check his Hudl film from 2017, as the first highlight seen above showcases some eye-opening talent.

ATH/ILB Leo Chenal

  • 247Sports (Composite): Three stars; Grade: 0.8839; No. 388 player overall; No. 39 ATH; No. 1 WI
  • 247Sports: Three stars; Grade: 89; No. 322 player overall; No. 31 ATH; No. 1 WI
  • ESPN: Not rated
  • Rivals: Three stars; 5.7 rating, No. 8 ILB

The first verbal commitment for the Badgers came back on Sept. 10 from Chenal, whose older brother, John, is a walk-on inside linebacker for the class of 2018.

According to WisSports.net, Chenal rushed for 620 yards on 59 carries with 10 touchdowns and four two-point conversions. He also caught 19 passes for 366 yards and seven touchdowns, along with recording 96 tackles, 19 for loss, three sacks, and four forced fumbles.

Again, like Davis, Wisconsin received a commitment from one of its top in-state prep players, continuing the successful formula seen in years past. According to 247Sports, Chenal, who apparently received a bump in his overall grade, also received an offer from South Dakota State.