A huge weekend on the field for the Wisconsin Badgers, who beat the Michigan Wolverines 35-14 on Saturday, has already paid dividends off the field in recruiting. Rated as the top player in the state of Minnesota in the 2021 class by the 247 Composite rankings, 4-star OT Riley Mahlman verbally committed to the Badgers after the game.
Mahlman, of Lakeville, Minn., is listed at somewhere between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8 and tips the scales at 270 lbs. He is built like the prototypical modern offensive tackle and his frame leaves room to add weight without sacrificing mobility and speed.
Mahlman also plays on the Lakeville South basketball team and tells Bucky’s 5th Quarter that playing hoops helps him on the football field. “Basketball played a huge roll in my development. It kept me in shape and increased my athleticism,” Mahlman said.
The offensive line tradition at Wisconsin is obviously a big draw to any high school player that wants to make it to the NFL, but Mahlman said there was more to his decision than only that.
“The program just provided everything I was looking for. I have a really good connections with a lot of the coaches that work there. Also my education is a big priority and it’s a top university.”
After visiting Madison for the Michigan game, Mahlman said “I’m just excited to be apart of the Badger culture going forward. I just thought it was something special to see the team atmosphere after the win.”
Moving forward with his junior season, Mahlman notes that “our team goal is to win the state championship.” Lakeville South is halfway through their season and sit at 3-1 with a huge matchup against rival Lakeville North (4-0) in two weeks.
It has been a good run of Minnesota recruits coming to Wisconsin over the last week and Mahlman has some connections with the two newest Badgers basketball commits. “I played against them both (Ben Carlson and Steven Crowl) and played with Ben for a year.”
Sadly, Mahlman does not have inside information on Wisconsin’s top remaining 2020 football target, 4-star OLB Kaden Johnson (Minneapolis, Minn.), and which way he might be leaning.
“I talked with Kaden a little bit but haven’t since I committed,” Mahlman mentioned.
This interview was edited lightly for clarity.