With National Signing Day 2018 long since passed, your full recruiting attention can now turn to the foundation of what the 2019 recruiting class can bring.
Right now, the Wisconsin Badgers sit in third place nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings for this recruiting class. Obviously that’s subject to change, but the Badgers are also landing a higher class of recruit among the committed. So, the question becomes, can it continue?
The question of if a commitment can get flipped is legitimate, but if a recruit’s situation changes, that’s a bridge we will cross if it becomes necessary. If you’re not one of those people already predicting this class is going to fall apart faster than what happened when Gary Andersen shuffled off to Oregon State, there’s plenty of good news and four-star prospects the Badgers are still in play for. Let’s break it down position by position. We’ll start offensively, and bring the defense into play next time.
The Badgers are only recruiting a quarterback on contingency, as four-star prospect Graham Mertz is committed. There’s going to be plenty of other programs who fire off an offer before this is over, but the Badgers have been great at keeping the prospects that they want committed. And they want Mertz.
While in-state three-star Julius Davis is another one of those highly interesting prospects with a great highlight reel and power conferences sniffing around, a second running back here is far from impossible, especially with Chris James and Taiwan Deal approaching graduation.
The name to watch is Steele Chambers. Chambers is a four-star athlete from Roswell, Ga. (Blessed Trinity Catholic) as well as the platonic ideal of the John Settle running back. Quick, agile, and has high school kids bouncing off of him like he was in Tecmo Bowl. He’s made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin, and while he has offers from Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and Stanford among others, the Badgers offer a potentially quick path to carries. Also, some programs are looking at him as a linebacker.
If Chambers goes elsewhere, Patrick Garwo, a high three-star running back out of Fairless Hills, Pa., is set to make a visit over the summer. There’s also someone who would be more of a James White type in Suwanee, Ga., all-purpose back Tyler Goodson. He’s starting to gain Power Five offers, but there’s no one the Badgers can’t beat if and when they make another offer at this point.
With no seniors and only one junior currently worthy of draft consideration in Quintez Cephus, landing Nolan Groulx would likely be enough for the Badgers to have a satisfying year at the position. That said, they do enjoy a certain style of receiver. With Fort Wayne, Ind. (Wayne) three-star Craig Young as well as Racine, Wis. (St. Catherine’s) three-star athlete DaShaun Brown, the Badgers are in play for tall (both listed at 6’3), athletically gifted receivers. Young has multiple 100 dash times in the 10.8 range, Brown is currently a dual-threat quarterback.
The situation is as simple as there is probably one more spot open at wide receiver, depending on timing. While Brown could also fit in at cornerback, the Badgers have no pressure from the numbers game. They don’t have to land two even if a second would be nice.
With only Zander Neuville looking like he’s going off scholarship after this season and Hayden Rucci being one of those tight ends with an every-down skillset who might only need a season in the weight room before being an impact player, unless the Badgers get further down the road than an unofficial visit from arguably the top tight end in the class, Hudson Henry? They’re good.
The Badgers are set to lose four seniors after this season, and David Edwards is also already receiving draft consideration for his play as a sophomore. That means there’s definitely two or three more spots available for the offensive line with Logan Brown and Joe Tippmann already in tow. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go about this.
Bryce Benhart is a four-star, 6’7, 285-pound baby hoss from Lakeville, Minn., who, despite offers from Notre Dame and Oklahoma, seems inclined to stay close to home. With that assumption, the Badgers might have the best offer.
Another four-star from the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, Edina’s Quinn Carroll, likes Wisconsin enough for the family to pay its own way on a visit, even if Wisconsin is in the second tier. Trevor Keegan is another tailor-made tackle from Crystal Lake, Ill., with a four-star grade. He’s blown up a bit with recent offers from Alabama and Ohio State, but the Badgers aren’t out of it here.
If they pull just one of those four-star prospects, they can go into Ohio and see if Ohio State really wants high-three star Dayton (Dunbar) tackle Jonathan Allen or projectable Gibsonia, Penn., three-star tackle Andrew Kristofic. Also, Wisconsin is rich in agile kids with good motors who can come out of the box and maul some people with no star pedigree. As shape goes? The Badgers are great here.
So, as you can see, the Badgers have an offense that’s set up to run over defenses in the next couple of years. They’re still in play for more stars, and they have plenty of opportunity to fill in with any sleeper that they might find. How are they faring on the defensive side of the ball?
Find out tomorrow.