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Wisconsin recruiting: rankings updates for football and basketball

Rivals has updated their rankings for both sports and a few Badgers received additional stars!

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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 (sometimes more) 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!

Updated football rankings

  • Rivals updated their 2021 rankings this week and the top prospect in Wisconsin’s class, OT Nolan Rucci (Lititz, Pa.), was bumped up to the 5-star level. The last 5-star prospects I remember the Badgers signing are 2007 OL Josh Ogelsby (Milwaukee) and 2003 DE Justin Ostrowski (Portage) which, sadly, I did not have to look up.

Here is how the Badgers class looks now in the Rivals250:

  • No. 26, 5-star, OT Nolan Rucci, Lititz, Pa. (up three spots)
  • No. 103, 4-star, WDE T.J. Bollers, Tiffin, Iowa (down four spots)
  • No. 167, 4-star, OT JP Benzschawel, Grafton (down 10 spots)
  • No. 173, 4-star, S Hunter Wohler, Muskego (down eight spots)
  • No. 195, 4-star, S Braelon Allen, Fond du Lac (down 41 spots)
  • No. 241, 4-star, WDE Darryl Peterson, Akron, Ohio (no change)
  • No. 242, 4-star, WR Markus Allen, Clayton, Ohio (no change)

One of the few, if not only, remaining targets in the 2021 class is 4-star OLB Yanni Karlaftis (West Lafayette, Ind.) who sits at No. 186 in the country. Purdue, Wisconsin, Cal and Oregon remain his top-four teams with the Badgers and Boilermakers most likely being his top two, however both Rivals and 247 predict that Yanni will join his older brother George at Purdue.

Looking at the list of Badgers commits in the Rivals250 you’ll notice a nice balance between players who play in the trenches and players who don’t. Wisconsin will never have trouble recruiting offensive linemen, but it’s great to see the talent floor rise at the position. While he didn’t make the Rivals250, the third OL in the class, Riley Mahlman (Lakeville, Minn.) is also a 4-star.

Having two 4-star safeties and a 4-star WR is something that Wisconsin usually does not get in recruiting and it is the only way that the Badgers will take the “next step” and start competing with Ohio State for real.

Updated basketball rankings

  • Rivals also updated their list for the 2021 basketball class. The Badgers class there has been set for what seems like years and all three members, who have signed their letters of intent already, are still on the Rivals150 list.

- No. 127, 3-star PF Matthew Mors, Yankton, S.D. (down seven spots)
- No. 129, 3-star PG Chucky Hepburn, Bellevue, Neb. (down four spots)
- No. 137, 3-star PF Chris Hodges, Schaumburg, Ill. (down one spot)

The Badgers class sits at No. 41 nationally in Rivals overall team rankings and No. 7 in the Big Ten. While UW could accept another member of the class if they find a late-bloomer it is seeming more and more likely that they’ll roll the scholarship over to 2022. This class doesn’t have as much high end talent as the football class, but all three players fit with Greg Gard’s scheme and should be early contributors for his team.