On the field, a top-25 finish isn’t that surprising for Wisconsin football fans. In fact, over the last 25 years the Badgers have finished in that ever important top-25 ranking sixteen times, with eight of them being top-ten finishes. When it comes to consistently performing season to season Wisconsin is as solid as they come.
On the recruiting trail though, Wisconsin has not always had that same success. The mantra of Wisconsin football has often been “do more with less.” While that model has served the Badgers faithful well for decades, many wonder...what’s next? What more can be done? How do the Badgers go from a consistently good football program to a great one?
The first step in that process is to recruit at a high level. Recruiting is the life blood of a college football program and if you don’t do it at a high level you’re likely going to have to really focus on player development. Over the last decade the Badgers have not recruited at the level of some conference foes, but they’ve done a great job of developing players into superstars.
However, on Wednesday the Badgers put the final touches on an incredibly strong recruiting class. In fact, its the highest ranked class in the school’s history. The Badgers closed out National Signing Day with the No. 25 ranked class according to the 247 Sports Composite. That mark breaks the 2019 class record which came in No. 29. Each of those classes are impressive when you consider the fact that classes of the previous decade ranked No. 43 over a ten year average. The past two seasons have been quite a significant jump under the direction of Paul Chryst.
Ranking in the top-25 for the class of 2020 is a huge accomplishment, but the bigger challenge still awaits in trying to top that year after year while competing with the blue bloods of college football. Yes, the high finish is significant, but there are still four Big Ten teams ahead of them in Nebraska (20), Penn State (15), Michigan (14) and Ohio State (5).
However, the difference lies in the development of said players, something Wisconsin has excelled at in the past. Sure the big names of the conference rank higher, but it appears that the Badgers are closing the gap. If that gap is closed, the question begs to be asked, what happens next and how does that development the Badgers are known for boost when coupled with better raw talent? Time will tell.
Does Wisconsin take the next step into becoming an elite program instead of a really good one? We shall see, but it appears that they are on their way. The 2019 class was great, the 2020 class was better, and the ground work for a strong 2021 class is already laid as the Badgers currently rank No. 6 nationally. The challenge lies in maintaining that spot, and besting themselves year after year. If they do so, the sky is the limit for Wisconsin football.