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Wisconsin football recruiting: National Signing Day positional breakdown

The end of the national signing period is once again upon us. Here’s a positional breakdown for the full class of 2020.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Early signing day was a successful one for the Badgers back in December, as 19 members of the 2020 class signed their letter of intent for Wisconsin. Now that the signing period is open once again, the Badgers will look to wrap up what will be their highest recruiting class in recent years. In case you missed back in December, here is a position breakdown for the class that should have Wisconsin fans excited for the future.

Offensive Line

We’ll start with the offensive side of the football which added a whole host of talent at multiple positions, but really did some damage by picking up five offensive lineman to the class. Firstly, and at the top of the 2020 class, is the duo of Jack Nelson and Trey Wedig. Both prospects are in-state players that performed well at the All-American Bowl in Texas. Ranking as the top two players in the state of Wisconsin, Nelson and Wedig could be a lethal combo at the tackle/guard position for years to come.

Two other in-state lineman also join the previously mentioned, as Tanor Bortolini of Kewaunee and Ben Barten of Stratford signed with the Badgers to help fill out the Badgers offensive line positions. Wisconsin dominated the in state recruiting, but they also crossed the Illinois border to pick up Dylan Barrett from St. Charles High School. This group of five lineman shows where the focus was for recruiting in 2020, with 25% of the scholarship players being at positions where Wisconsin historically dominates.

Running Back

It wasn’t all guys up front for the Badgers, as Wisconsin picked up some key skill positions as well. The last member of the 2020 class to sign was an important one as four-star running back Jalen Berger signed with the Badgers. He’ll follow in the footsteps of a long line of running backs from the New Jersey area. Berger’s athleticism is impressive as he shows innate abilities to make plays both running the football and receiving out of the backfield.

Wide receiver & tight end

At the wideout position, the Badgers picked up a whole host of talent at both the wide receiver and tight end positions. Leading the group of receivers was Chimere Dike of Waukesha North, who brings a strong combo of athleticism and speed. With the departure of Aron Cruickshank, Dike could fill the role of a speed threat both on offense and special teams.

The Badgers also picked up two other receivers in Isaac Smith and Devin Chandler. Smith brings good size to an undersized group of receivers for the Badgers. His 6-foot-3 frame should help Smith develop into a deep ball threat as his career continues. Devin Chandler is another solid player that brings explosiveness to the group. His ability to separate himself from coverage was something that really stood out to offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph.

In addition to wideouts, the Badgers also picked up two tight ends to help fill out a group that struggled with depth in 2019. The first of the two is Cam Large, who comes to Wisconsin from Dedham, MA. His big frame and athleticism should allow Large to be a strong player in both the run blocking and pass catching game that is so vital to Wisconsin. The second of the two is in state player Cole Dakovich, who comes to UW from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha. Dakovich has only played football in his junior and senior years, winning State Championships in both seasons. Not bad!

Defensive line

11 of the 20 scholarship players for this class were on the offensive side of the ball, but the Badgers also filled out the defense with nine key players. Three of those players are on the defensive line. In-state standout Cade Mcdonald leads the group, possessing a 6’7” frame to pair with good athleticism for a player of his stature. McDonald has enrolled early at UW.

The Badgers also picked up two out of state players to this group. Aaron Witt of Winona, MN chose to cross over to the good side after previously committing, and decommitting, from the Iowa Hawkeyes. The final out of state player is that of James Thompson Jr. from Roger Bacon HS in Cincinnati, OH. Thompson was not highly recruiting by the likes of the big names but he appear that, with some development, he could be a strong player for UW.

Linebacker

It’s apparent that the main focus of the 2020 class was on the offensive line and at the linebacker position as both groups finished with five total players. Linebacker was a huge focus for the coaching staff after multiple departures over the last two seasons.

Leading the way in this group is Kaden Johnson who comes to UW from Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis. Johnson was heavily recruited by the Gophers and Nebraska Cornhuskers but ultimately landed with UW. Johnson is a pure pass rusher by every definition with good length to help him get to the quarterback often.

Another standout is Nick Herbig who will be one of the early enrollees coming all the way from Honolulu, Hawaii. Herbig projects to an outside linebacker spot where his main focus will be chasing down opposing quarterbacks. His agility coupled with his long arms should create an interesting prospect for the Badgers as he develops.

Preston Zachman is another outside linebacker prospect that will look to develop during his time at Wisconsin. Zachman stands at 6-2 205, but brings a ton of speed to the outside linebacker position.

The final linebacker to early enroll is Jordan Turner who comes to Wisconsin from Farmington, Michigan. Turner appears to be the most physically ready in this group and is no stranger to contact. His nose to the football attitude should bring a much needed presence to this young group.

The final player of this group is Malik Reed from Chandler, AZ. Similar to Jordan Turner, Reed shows a strong ability to find the football and create contact with the opposition. Much like Zachman and Johnson, Reed really shows his strength when pursuing in the pass rush.

Cornerback

Last but not least is the one sole player to join the Badgers secondary, Max Lofy. Lofy comes to Wisconsin from Colorado Springs and will look to learn from an experience group of corners like Faion Hicks and Rachad Wildgoose. Lofy has incredible speed for a young prospect which showed on both the gridiron and track. With many players ahead of him, Lofy will have the opportunity to learn and develop in a strong secondary room led by Jim Leonhard.