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Wisconsin video games: successful first year of recruiting for Coach Hamm

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He reeled in the Badgers first ever top-25 recruiting class despite a disappointing season on the field.

Freshman DE Kevin Griffin is already in the rotation for the Badgers.

The virtual Wisconsin Badgers ended their 2020 season with an 11-2 record, losing to Nebraska and Minnesota but winning the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against...someone. While that is certainly not the season we all wanted, a number of high quality recruits liked what Coach Hamm was doing and signed on to give the Badgers their first ever top-25 recruiting class.

Here is a breakdown of the recruits that UW inked.

Quarterback

Wisconsin actually recruited a 4-star signal caller and ended up cutting him because two ATH that signed were better QBs than the actual QB recruit. J Penn (that’s right, his first name is the letter J!) of Hamilton, Ala. is a JUCO prospect that is being redshirted at 78 overall. His speed is a preposterous 92 and he has 82 throw power and 78 throw accuracy. He’ll be used as a change of pace QB for Graham Mertz once Jack Coan graduates.

The other QB/ATH is Todd Crum, of Lake Magdalene, Fla., who will be redshirted as a freshman and is a 75 overall with 88 speed. His throw power is 80 and his accuracy is 77, but his awareness is higher than Penn’s at 68 to 65. Both will be served well redshirting because awareness is so important for quarterbacks.

Running back

In-state stud D.J. Bailey out of Appleton is rated as a 79 overall with 90 speed, 99 acceleration and 87 elusiveness. His 75 awareness is also impressive and he and Julius Davis should form a pretty lethal one-two punch in the coming seasons.

Wide receiver

Coach Hamm’s two best recruits were wideouts with true freshman Patrick Mitchell coming in with an 81 ranking and winning the No. 3 WR job. He has 94 speed, 70 catching and 92 acceleration. He should be a monster moving forward. UW also nabbed JUCO sophomore Henry Kidd from Kerrville, Texas who is redshirting this year as an 80 overall.

Tight end

The tight end room needed an infusion of talent especially since Jake Ferguson (who won the Mackey Award last year) is probably going to go pro early. Coach Hamm convinced Dennis Daniels of Burton, Mich. to join the team and the redshirting freshman is rated as a 78 with 79 speed, 77 catching and 78 run blocking.

Offensive line

The Badges got two o-line commits, who are both redshirting, Marvin Francis a 78 rated LT from Rockford, Ill. and 73 C Alex Ostrander from Macomb, Ill. Both have awareness in the low 60s so the year learning from the current players will be good for both of them.

Defensive line

Wisconsin’s defensive tackles were sorely underrated by the game which cleared the way for true freshman Scott Hart, from Greenfield, to step onto campus and into the starting role. He is a 78 overall with a 79 block shedding, 79 power moves and 75 finesse moves. Cody Harris, from La Crosse, is redshirting and is a 65 and will probably be a depth piece moving forward.

At defensive end, the Badgers signed two potential difference makers in George Pitts, rated 79 from Franklin, Ky. and redshirting, and Kevin Griffin, rated 75 from Fayetteville, Tenn. and playing as a true freshman. They both have awareness in the low 40s which is dreadful, so hopefully Pitts spends his redshirt year locked away with his playbook.

Linebacker

The Badgers signed three linebackers, two OLB and one MLB. The best one is Justin Taylor, a 76 rated LOLB with 79 speed, 84 tackling and 79 pursuit. MLB Chris Avery is rated a 68 and is redshirting while Charles Butler is a 68 LOLB with 82 speed but 42 awareness who is a depth piece this year.

Secondary

Wisconsin only signed one defensive back, FS Nick Johnson, a 75 rated player out of Arkansas. He has 93 speed, 78 man coverage and 79 zone coverage and is able to redshirt this year due to UW’s depth in the defensive backfield. I think he could be a star once he hits the field.