Recruiting comes in streaks and tangles where you feel the world is going to end and all you want to do is yell at teenagers on Twitter. Luckily, right now the Badgers are very much in the former. And as it goes, plenty of dominoes should continue to fall in the next couple of weeks. I’m here to give you a quick guide on what happened and what to look for.
Graham Mertz is locked in to being a Badger. This means the Badgers got in on a quarterback early, watched him become a top-four pro-style quarterback (sixth-ranked if you include the dual-threats), and were able to hold on despite most everyone outside of Oklahoma sniffing around and seeing if they could flip him. Getting a five-star offensive tackle out of Michigan is a very nice win, but this just might be more impressive.
While the Badgers had been sniffing around a second running back during the recruiting process—and with them cooling on a running back like Patrick Garwo and Julius Davis locked in despite overtures from programs like Notre Dame and USC—I would not expect Wisconsin to grab another at this point. Sure, four-star running back Zach Charbonnet out of Westlake Village, Calif., still has mutual interest and is a running back that the Badgers would take, but with warm interest in Michigan, UCLA, USC, and Washington, commitment would be a strong pull.
Interestingly, the Badgers might be done here as well. With them locked in with three other cornerbacks, Mount Holly, N.C., three-star athlete Marcus Graham looks like he’s going to start at wide receiver. He’s definitely someone with the ability to create space for himself and make plays after the catch, but with Aron Cruickshank already looking like someone with star quality and the top four at the position looking trustworthy at worst, you do not have to land a second receiver to have the positional need filled.
The Badgers are very much in play to grab themselves a second tight end, which seems to be just fine with Hayden Rucci. After all, the Badgers love to use multiple tight ends in game situations. The dream candidate is 247Sports composite No. 1 tight end Hudson Henry, who put Wisconsin in his top five. But with in-state Arkansas and Stanford considered “warmer,” it’s another recruiting battle the Badgers have to win.
There’s also Erick All, a three-star tight end out of Fairfield, Ohio, who would probably slot in as an H-back, move tight end type as he’s currently listed at 6’4 and 225 pounds. He’s also a very nice second-level blocker with great athleticism. The race isn’t going to be over soon for All, as schools like Florida State and Michigan made offers after Wisconsin, but the Badgers are definitely in this to the end. If not, they have Rucci. He’s a great prospect.
The Badgers haven’t added a new prospect yet, but when your first two commits are Logan Brown and Joe Tippmann, the foundation for an all-time class is already there. The targets remaining for the other two spots have become quite clear.
No. 1 is the big four-star right tackle from Lakeville, Minn., Bryce Benhart. He visited the weekend of June 8 and he has all the time he needs while the Badgers maintain favorite status. No. 1a is Jake Hornibrook. Yes, he is Alex’s brother, but the three-star earned offers from Stanford, Oregon, Clemson, and Tennessee before Wisconsin made its move. It seems like a two-horse race between Stanford and Wisconsin to earn his services.
If the Badgers miss on one, the options are wide open. There’s a known in-state prospect like Oconomowoc’s Leif Engstrand. There’s a prospect out of South Dakota with a tremendous highlight reel in Sioux Falls three-star Grant Treiber. There’s always the guy I don’t know about from a town of 1,200 in northern Wisconsin who turns out to be a pro prospect. The class is far from complete, but it is in very much great shape.