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Wisconsin football recruiting: updated rankings and reactions to Nolan Rucci picking UW

Where do the Badgers sit now that the 5-star OT is on board?

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

The Wisconsin Badgers just got their biggest recruiting win on the trail in, not to sound like a crazy person but...program history. 5-star OT Nolan Rucci (Lititz, Pa.) is the No. 3 rated player in 247Sports Composite history to commit to the Badgers, behind 5-star OT Josh Ogelsby (Milwaukee) in 2007 and 5-star OT Logan Brown (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in 2019.

Rucci, who was picking from a final group that included Penn State, Clemson, Michigan and Notre Dame, gives the Badgers the No. 16 class in the 247Composite (up one spot) and the No. 16 class for Rivals (up three spots) with his commitment. He is the top rated player in the class based on both major recruiting sites.

During his announcement on CBS Sports HQ Rucci discussed one of the main reasons he chose Wisconsin was because of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph:

“I love how Coach Rudy coaches his guys and the development is obvious. You can see the guys they’ve put in the NFL in recent years and the guys that they’re going to be putting in the NFL. So I’m excited to be part of that process and make my mark.”

Rucci will join a talented offensive line room when he gets on campus for the 2021 season as the Badgers have recruited seven blue chip o-linemen in the past three classes (2019-2021).

  • 2019: 4-star Joe Tippman, 5-star Logan Brown
  • 2020: 4-star Jack Nelson, 4-star Trey Wedig
  • 2021: 4-star J.P. Benzschawel, 4-star Riley Mahlman, 5-star Nolan Rucci

All seven players came in as tackles, but obviously something has to give or else some of them would never see the field. Tippman has already been slated to shift inside to center and despite being 6-foot-7 there is talk that Benzschawel could be a guard if needed. Wisconsin is recruiting offensive linemen at a College Football Playoff level and hopefully this will draw other players to Madison to help the Badgers get over the hump and win the Big Ten and maybe more.

This is one of the few commitments I’ve ever seen Wisconsin receive where national college football writers took note. Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel of The Athletic both commented on it. The Penn State writer at The Athletic, Audrey Snyder, had a big write up on how this was a monumental in-state failure ($) for James Franklin and the Nittany Lions.

Needless to say, the other recruits in the 2021 class were fired up for Rucci’s commitment. He received messages from RB Antwan Roberts, QB Deacon Hill, OLB/DE Darryl Peterson, ILB Jake Chaney, WR Skyler Bell, CB Ricardo Hallman, OLB T.J. Bollers and S Hunter Wohler.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Hill is now 3-for-3 in recruiting players to Wisconsin. Pretty good hit rate for the QB.