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Wisconsin football recruiting: Merry Crootmas Eve

We’ve got a bunch of info jammed into this post on the day before the early signing period opens.

Northwestern v Wisconsin Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (sometimes more) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!

Early signing day

  • We have been working hard the past week to get everything prepared for Wednesday’s Early Signing Day extravaganza and I hope you’ll like our coverage. Nothing more about ESD in this post, because there will be so many others, but just wanted to give you a heads up.

New offers

  • 2023 S Julian Smith (Bakersfield, Calif.) out of Garces Memorial High School received an offer from UW earlier this week. It was his first FBS offer, but he is also receiving interest from Fresno State, Nevada, Southern Cal and UCLA.

The unranked safety stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 180 pounds. According to his Hudl tape, he had 40 tackles last season and one forced fumble to go along with a couple of interceptions. I like the way that Smith hits and he also seems to have a nose for the ball when it’s in the air, however he’ll need to greatly improve his coverage ability instead of just reacting to plays.

  • 2022 2-star DL/OL Brandon Sousa (Pleasanton, Calif.) announced that he has received a preferred walk-on offer from the Badgers. Based on his tweet, UW is thinking about him on the defensive side of the ball. The only other offer I could find for him was from Valparaiso.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing around 280 pounds, Sousa made the all-conference team on both the offensive and defensive lines last season. I really like this dude’s tape! He shows an ability to get after the quarterback from his tackle position and he looks stout against the run. If he can add some good weight and improve his quickness a bit, I could see him contributing in a rotation on the d-line for UW.

  • 2023 3-star WR Justin Marshall (Merrillville, Ind.) out of Merrillville High School also received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin this past week. Marshall sports offers from Ball State and Central Michigan now, so Wisconsin is his first Power 5 offer to speak of. According to Evan Flood over at 247 Sports ($), Marshall “is also receiving interest from Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, and Virginia.”

Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 175 pounds, Marshall is rated as the No. 91 WR in the country by 247 Sports and the No. 8 player in the state of Indiana. So...the first think you’ll notice about Marshall is that he is quite fast. There are plays where he is just too fast for his blockers but still makes the defenders miss and then scores a touchdown. He also looks really tough to tackle, especially on the first play of his highlight video.

This guy is like a freaking bolt of lightning when he hits the hole. If the defense hasn’t already gotten a hand on him, he’s gone. And even if they do get a hand on him he often just barrels right through defenders. It’s a good thing that Wisconsin got here early, and hopefully that means something to him, because he is going to see a lot more offers come his way.

Other recruiting news

  • Top 2022 target, 4-star IOL Carson Hinzman (Hammond), is up for the Man of the Year award from the US Army All-American Bowl.
  • 2023 3-star DL Tyler Gant (St. Louis) will be announcing his top-five schools right after Christmas. He is a top of the board target for Wisconsin.