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Wisconsin football recruiting: four more offers were earned on Thursday

It is getting hard to keep track of all of this! Good work, Paul Chryst and company!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Orange Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin Photo by Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (daily this week with all of the offers being given out) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!

New offers

  • 2021 4-star ILB Branden Jennings (Duval County, Jacksonville, Fla.) of Sandalwood High School earned an offer from the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday. Jennings has, basically, one million offers so let’s limit it to the important few: Wisconsin, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, and Auburn are the schools that he likes the most. Well, maybe not Wisconsin...but the other four! Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas and a bunch of others have also offered Jennings.

The 6-foot-3 and 225 pound LB is ranked as the No. 39 player in the country and the No. 4 OLB as well. Florida State, somehow, appears to be in the lead for his services.

Jennings goes by “Godzilla” on his social media accounts and after watching his highlight film you’ll see why. He hits people with their pain on his mind and hate in his heart. Quite frankly, that’s how all linebackers should play.

  • 2021 4-star WR Dont’e Thornton Jr. (Baltimore, Md.) of Mount St. Joseph High School received an offer from the Badgers on Thursday. Thornton is a hot commodity out of the DMV and has offers from over 20 teams. They include: Auburn, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee and a whole bunch of others.

The Nittany Lions are thought to be the favorite to land Thornton, who is ranked as the No. 41 player overall by the 247 Composite and the No. 4 wide receiver.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 185 pounds, Thornton is your classic long, tall, red zone target. He caught 39 passes for 1,074 yards (27.54 yards per catch LMAO) and 16 touchdowns as a junior. He also shows really good speed for someone as tall as he is.

This is another in a long list of players that Wisconsin offered but I don’t think Wisconsin will get...and that’s ok! The Badgers SHOULD be offering kids like this. This is the caliber of player that is needed to beat the Ohio States of the world and the only way to get them is to tell them you are interested. Unfortunately, offering a kid like this so late in the game probably won’t register with him, since Wisconsin isn’t known as a pass first offense, but being in the same recruiting conversations as the other teams that have offered Thornton is important.

  • 2022 in-state WR Jerry Cross (Milwaukee) of Rufus King finally got an offer from the Badgers. Living so close to Madison, Cross has been to campus many times and it just seemed like Wisconsin was waiting for the right time to pull the trigger on the supersized wideout.

The 6-foot-6 and 220 pound Cross also has offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Illinois. Minnesota has been showing interest and will probably offer him shortly now that the Hawkeyes AND the Badgers have done so. According to Rivals, Notre Dame and UNLV have also been looking at Cross.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Cross is much, much bigger than everyone he is playing against in high school. While watching his highlight video you mostly see jump balls thrown up and Cross coming down with them because he is easily six inches taller than everyone near him.

That being said, Cross has good hands and he is able to battle through contact to make catches. He seems like he might be the kind of player that gets in to a college weight lifting program and all of the sudden he is an uber-athletic tight end instead of a tall wide receiver. If he gains 20 to 30 pounds of muscle he is a freaking match up nightmare as a tight end. Just an idea, I’m sure no one else has thought of this.

  • 2021 4-star WR/DB/ATH Zakee Wheatley (Severn, Md.) of Archbishop Spalding is the third, and final, wide receiver to get an offer from Wisconsin on Thursday. Wheatley has received offers from all of the usual East Coast suspects, including: Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Virginia Tech and some Midwest teams like Pitt, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Maryland and Penn State appear to be the front runners for Wheatley, as is often the case with a talented kid from the DMV. Wheatley is ranked as the No. 296 player in the country and the No. 27 athlete.

The 6-foot-3 and 180 pound athlete shows a number of desirable skills on his highlight video. He looks really good as a WR but I just can’t stop watching him play defense. He has a nose for the ball, he hits like a linebacker and he’s a rangy ball hawk that any team would want in their defensive backfield.

Other football recruiting news

  • 2020 3-star LB commit Malik Reed was named, basically, the best defensive player in the state of Arizona. He doesn’t get as much hype as Nick Herbig and Kaden Johnson, but I think Reed could sneakily become a major contributor for a Badgers defense in the future.