clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wisconsin football recruiting: an updated look at who the Badgers are after in 2021

New, 9 comments

Now that the 2020 class is all signed, sealed and delivered we look ahead to next year!

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Now that 4-star RB Jalen Berger has signed his national letter of intent, the Wisconsin Badgers recruiting class for 2020 is complete. It was a long, grueling journey for the past two plus years but we’ve finally reached the finish line. Now it is time to look ahead and see what the 2021 recruiting class has in store.

Let’s break it down position by position, see what the Badgers already have (there are already eight members of their 2021 class) and check out what they might potentially be losing.

Offense

Quarterback

The Badgers identified their QB target for 2021, sent out an offer and got a commitment! Deacon Hill (Santa Barbara, Calif.) is a 3-star prospect from Santa Barbara High School that led his team to the state finals for the first time in decades this past season.

I don’t think the Badgers are going to be taking two QBs in this class unless Graham Mertz goes pro after leading Wisconsin to an undefeated national title, but they may throw an offer or two out there to see if they can’t find a diamond in the rough.

Running back

The Badgers may also be done at this position already. Two in-state prospects jumped on early offers from Paul Chryst and the Badgers have their backfield of the future lined up over a year in advance of Signing Day. Loyal Crawford (Eau Claire) and Jackson Acker (Verona) are both 3-star RBs from Wisconsin.

When we last did this activity, the Badgers hadn’t signed a 2020 RB yet, but now they have Berger in the fold. Crawford and Acker should still be able to compete for carries though.

Wide receiver

Wisconsin has already made 12 offers at wideout in the 2021 cycle. The Badgers will need to take a couple of WRs because they will be losing Kendric Pryor, Danny Davis III, Jack Dunn and Adam Krumholz. With Quintez Cephus leaving early for the NFL Draft the Badgers will definitely be in need of a talent infusion out wide.

The Badgers are going after some difference makers too, including: 4-stars Bralon Brown (Hollywood, Fla.) and Micah Crowell (Kernersville, N.C.).

Tight end

Depth at the tight end position was a concern all season for the Badgers. They signed two in the 2020 class (Cam Large and Cole Dakovich) but will probably be looking to add one more as Luke Benzschawel will have exhausted his eligibility and Jake Ferguson may consider going pro.

The top name to know on the Badgers board is Jameson Geers (New Lenox, Ill.). Geers is a 6-foot-5 tight end that is also receiving serious interest from Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern. Unfortunately, Geers recently announced that he’s committing to the Gophers, so the Badgers will have to reevaluate their board here.

A new name to keep an eye on is Treylan Davis (Jackson, Ohio) and unranked (by the 247 Composite, he’s ranked a 3-star by 247 Sports) TE that has been receiving some interest from Chryst and co. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds and could be getting an offer soon.

Offensive line

The Badgers are set at tackle for the 2021 class. Wisconsin has already nabbed verbal commitments from the top player in Wisconsin, JP Benzschawel (Grafton), and Minnesota, Riley Mahlman (Lakeville, Minn.) and they both happen to be 4-star tackles!

5-star tackle Nolan Rucci (Lititz, Pa.) is obviously a “take” if he wants to come to Madison, but the brother of TE Hayden Rucci seems to be leaning pretty heavily towards Penn State. JC Latham (Waukesha) who plays his football at IMG Academy in Florida is another name to keep an eye on, although he may prefer to play on defense in college. He’s a long shot to pick Wisconsin, but always worth paying attention to in-state kids.

The Badgers have a pair of offers out to 4-star guards from Texas, Bryce Foster (Katy) and Jaeden Roberts (Houston), but they each have over 20 offers already and I don’t know how serious either are in Wisconsin.

Defense

Defensive line

The Badgers have one commit already along the d-line. Fast-rising, in-state DE Ayo Adebogun (Thiensville) verballed to Wisconsin right before the Early Signing Period for the 2020 class.

With Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk both set to graduate after next year, DE will be a position to watch for the Badgers.

Wisconsin is in a strong position with two other DE prospects: 4-star TJ Bollers (Tiffin, Iowa) and 3-star Darryl Peterson (Akron, Ohio). Peterson just took a visit to Alabama, so hopefully the Badgers still are in the lead for him.

The Badgers will also be looking for a nose tackle in the 2021 class, although they only have two offers out right now, both to 4-star talents: Payton Page (Greensboro, N.C.) and J.T. Tulmoloau (Sammamish, Wash.).

Linebacker

Wisconsin has one ILB commit already with Bryan Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Ill.) choosing to join his brother, Jack Sanborn, in Madison.

There are two OLB prospects that the Badgers are high on in Yanni Karlaftis (West Lafayette, Ind.) and Damon Ollison (Akron, Ohio). Karlaftis will be tough to get because of where he’s from and the fact that his brother starred at Purdue this year as a freshman. The Badgers have had luck recruiting out of Akron, especially Archbishop Hoban, recently so keep you eye on Ollison.

Secondary

So far the Badgers have only offered one CB, Kalen King (Detroit, Mich.). That will certainly change as the Badgers only took one CB in 2020, 3-star Max Lofy (Colorado Springs, Colo.), and will be losing Caesar Williams and then basically one million corners in 2022.

“For the safety position, 4-star Hunter Wohler (Muskego) is basically a “must get” for Paul Chryst and co. Rarely do players of his caliber, and at his position, pop up in Wisconsin’s backyard. Wohler is considered a Wisconsin lean, but Notre Dame and Ohio State are not teams to be trifled with on the recruiting trail and they want Wohler too.”

That previous paragraph was written a month and a half ago when we last did this exercise and wouldn’t you know it...Wohler chose Wisconsin! Big, important get for Chryst and the Badgers.

Justin Walters (Bolingbrook, Ill.) was probably the backup plan at safety if Wohler got away. But he ended up signing with Notre Dame a couple of days ago and Wohler didn’t get away, so it’s all good for everyone! (Editor’s note: thanks to @cdavis20000 on Twitter for pointing this out and correcting us.)

Athletes

What’s better than signing a 4-star ATH? Signing a 4-star ATH who used to be committed to your oldest rival. Sam Jackson (Naperville, Ill.) has been committed to Minnesota for some time now, but it is only listed as a “soft commit” on 247 so he sounds like he could be swayed. Jackson would probably line up at WR for the Badgers.

Update [4:08 p.m. CT]: It has been brought to our attention that Jackson decommitted from Minnesota at the end of January...so, there you go!