Now that the dust has settled (so to speak) as schools enter a dead period, a time frame when they’re unable to contact recruits, let’s take a look at the current state of the Badgers’ 2020 recruiting class and where they can go from here.
The Badgers currently have 11 commitments in what many consider, and expect, to be a small class. Wisconsin probably has room for somewhere around 14-16 members in the 2020 class. This puts a lot of pressure on those who are still to commit, knowing their spot might not be there if they don’t make a decision sooner rather than later.
Here is a look at the class from a position by position basis:
Waiting on: Nobody. The Badgers aren’t taking a QB this cycle.
Waiting on: Kevontre Bradford
After DeaMonte Trayanum committing to Arizona State this week, Wisconsin is seemingly down to one priority running back target. Bradford, from Lancaster, Tex., would be a major luxury in this class and could be the next in line for the Wisconsin running back legacy.
Committed: Chimere Dike
Dike, a Waukesha North standout, is the only perimeter skill position player committed in the class to this point. At 6’1” and 165 lbs, Dike is an electric player with the ball in his hands, and is the first in-state receiver to sign with Wisconsin since Jazz Peavy in 2013.
Waiting on: Daniel Jackson
A former high school teammate of Graham Mertz, the Kansas product is seemingly down to Wisconsin and Minnesota fighting for his commitment. The 4* wide receiver is more of a luxury for Wisconsin at this point, but is a plan-A type of talent who the Badgers will find room for if he picks them.
Committed: Cole Dakovich
Dakovich is currently listed at outside linebacker, but with Nick Herbig and potentially Kaden Johnson entering that picture, that opens the door for the Catholic Memorial (Waukesha) product to play tight end. To be fair, this has been discussed as a possibilty since early in Dakovich’s recruitment.
Waiting on: Cam Large
Large, who has a final four of: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Wisconsin, would be a huge get for Wisconsin at tight end. First and foremost, any recruiting battle where Wisconsin beats any of those three schools, much less all three is monumental.
Next, Large is a big time talent at the position, and could be more of the “in-line” option to Dakovich’s “move” tight end skill set.
Committed: Trey Wedig, Jack Nelson, Ben Barten, Tanor Bortolini, Dylan Barrett, Sean Timmis (walk on)
This is one position I think Wisconsin is probably set at (Editor’s note: do you REALLY think that?). Wedig and Nelson are the headliners, both 4* recruits from in-state and early commitments in this class. Barten could still potentially be moved to defensive line depending on Nash Hutmacher’s recruitment, but for the time being is projected to guard. Bortolini is likely the center of the group, though Barrett’s skill set also works at either interior position.
Timmis just committed on Thursday as a preferred walk-on despite holding over 20 scholarship offers. He also had one of the best quotes of the recruiting period. When it was discussed where he’d play for Wisconsin, Timmis made a remark to the effect of they like me inside because I don’t have the height they’re looking for outside. Timmis is 6’5”.
Committed: Cade McDonald
The Hudson, Wis. prospect has to have defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield salivating at the potential ball of clay he presents. McDonald, who is 6’7” and around the 240-245 lb range, projects to defensive end for the Badgers. A bit of a late bloomer, McDonald received an offer on the camp circuit and committed only a couple of days later.
Waiting on: Nash Hutmacher
One of the top prep heavyweight wrestlers in the country, Hutmacher is also a highly coveted defensive lineman who has narrowed his selections down to Wisconsin, Oregon and Nebraska. The two Big Ten schools are seemingly the favorites to land the Chamberlain, South Dakota native. Hutmacher might be the most crucial recruit left for Wisconsin.
Committed: Nick Herbig, Malik Reed, Jordan Turner
Herbig, a Hawaiian, is one of the more dynamic outside linebackers Wisconsin has lured to Madison in the last few classes. He’s an impact player at a position the Badgers need to replenish to elevate their defense back to the 2014-2017 levels.
Turner and Reed both committed earlier this week, and filled up both of the inside linebacker spots in the class. The athletic duo are both run and hit linebackers who will give Jim Leonhard some flexibility and creativity in coverage and how to generate additional pressures.
Waiting on: Kaden Johnson
The 4* Minneapolis, Minn. native is seemingly down to the Gophers and Badgers in his recruitment. At 6’4” and 225 lbs. Johnson, with Herbig, could prove to be a premier pairing at outside linebacker for Wisconsin. Johnson would be the cherry on top of this small recruiting class sundae.
Waiting on: Max Lofy
Wisconsin has no current seniors in the defensive backfield, and thus this position group will be a low priority in this small class. Lofy, who’s parents are both from Wisconsin, seems to be the sole target at this juncture. There is likely only one spot in this class for a corner and Lofy should end up as a Badger.
If every player in this article ended up in Madison, that would be a class of 17 commits, which likely isn’t going to happen. This is just me, but Wisconsin fans should wish for these targets in the following order as we head towards the end of this recruiting cycle:
1. Kaden Johnson, OLB, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Min.)
2. Nash Hutmacher, NT, Chamberlain, South Dakota (UPDATE)
3. Cam Large, TE, Noble and Greenaugh School (Dedham, Mass.)
4. Daniel Jackson, WR, Bishop Miege (Mission, Kan.) (UPDATE)
5. Kevontre Bradford, RB, Lancaster, Tex.
6. Max Lofy, Pine Creek (Colorado Springs, Col.)