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Wisconsin football recruiting: three things we learned from the Early Signing Period

A look at some of the primary storylines that jumped out from the Early Signing Period.

Iowa v Wisconsin Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers added 21 players as part of Early Signing Day across college football on Wednesday. 14 players signed their letters of intent with full-ride scholarships, while seven others signed on via preferred walk-on opportunities.

With the dust settled from a whirlwind of a day across the sport, let’s look back at what we may have learned about the Wisconsin class that was not previously known in the days leading into the early signing period.

Early enrollees

Each year a smattering of prospects opt to forgo the remainder of their senior year of high school to get a jump start on their collegiate careers. This season that is no different, as Wisconsin shared out that six scholarship players from the 2022 class would be joining the team here in the coming weeks as mid-year enrollees.

Here is the list according to the Wisconsin communications staff:

Enrolling early provides all six players with a chance to get adjusted to college life and also partake in spring practices ahead of next season which can prove to be incredibly valuable. A’Khoury Lyde and Curtis Neal will both probably still be rehabbing from injuries sustained in high school, but the rest of the group should have a chance to compete this spring.

For Myles Burkett the opportunity to participate this spring should allow him to compete with Deacon Hill for third-team quarterback reps, with both players entering their first springs in the program.

Avyonne Jones has probably the best chance at early playing time of the group if he puts together a strong spring, but overall Barrett Nelson and Aidan Vaughan are both high upside players that should only benefit from the added practices as well.

Player sizes

The Wisconsin graphic design team did a fantastic job with the Madden themed player profiles on display as part of the Early Signing Day festivities. For each player the graphic also featured their measurables. Frequently player profiles on sites such as 247 Sports, Rivals, and ESPN have varying heights and weights that ultimately differ from when the player actually steps foot on campus and is listed on the official roster.

Well, there were some notable size discrepancies that stood out.

Here are the measurable shared by UW:

  • Wide receiver Vinny Anthony —> 6-foot, 167 pounds
  • Safety Austin Brown —> 6-foot-1, 191
  • Offensive lineman Joe Brunner —> 6-foot-5, 265 pounds
  • Quarterback Myles Burkett —> 5-foot-11, 203 pounds
  • Edge rusher Isaac Hamm —> 6-foot-5, 240 pounds
  • Cornerback Avyonne Jones —> 5-foot-11, 170 pounds
  • Cornerback A’Khoury Lyde —> 5-foot-9, 179 pounds
  • Wide receiver Tommy McIntosh —> 6-foot-5, 210 pounds
  • Defensive lineman Tristan Monday —> 6-foot-4, 240 pounds
  • Defensive lineman Curtis Neal —> 6-foot-2, 305 pounds
  • Offensive lineman Barrett Nelson —> 6-foot-5, 255 pounds
  • Tight end JT Seagreaves —> 6-foot-6, 220 pounds
  • Linebacker Aidan Vaughan —> 6-foot-4, 220 pounds
  • Running back/wide receiver/safety Cade Yacamelli —> 6-foot, 185 pounds
  • Offensive lineman John Clifford —> 6-foot-5, 260 pounds (walk-on)
  • Offensive lineman Drew Evans —> 6-foot-4, 255 pounds (walk-on)
  • Running back Zach Gloudeman —> 6-foot-2, 220 pounds (walk-on)
  • Linebacker Austin Harnetiaux —> 6-foot-3, 220 pounds (walk-on)
  • Kicker Gavin Lahm —> 6-foot, 200 pounds (walk-on)
  • Wide receiver Cole Toennies —> 6-foot-2, 180 pounds (walk-on)
  • Safety Jackson Trudgeon —> 6-foot-1, 175 pounds (walk-on)

While most of the listed heights/weights were fairly consistent with the player profiles featured by the recruiting services, the weight listed for offensive linemen Joe Brunner was considerably less than expected and the height for quarterback Myles Burkett was multiple inches shorter than the 6-foot-2 listed on his 247 Sports profile.

Regardless, both players are great additions to the class, and there is no telling what the actual height and weights of these players are until they are actually listed on the UW roster. Wisconsin traditionally brings in lighter, more athletic linemen and then adds bulk to them early in their careers. Additionally, the Badgers have had success with quarterbacks at or near 6-foot in the past, so that should not be too big of a concern moving forward.

Hamm addition, and more meat on the bone

The Badgers added a major piece to their 2022 class on Wednesday night with Sun Prairie standout Isaac Hamm making a signing day announcement in favor of Wisconsin. One of the longer recruitments, Hamm held a Wisconsin offer for nearly two years and had multiple Big Ten suitors. Ultimately, he chose to stay home, which was major news considering he was the highest-rated defensive player in the state.

While Hamm made his intentions known on Wednesday, one of the other top prospects from inside the state did not. Offensive lineman Carson Hinzman is still mulling his options after he did not sign with either of his top two schools, Wisconsin and Ohio State. He could still sign sometime this week, but it would also not be a surprise to see him announce on National Signing Day in February. Hinzman is a 4-star prospect that the Badgers want desperately, and he has been a priority target for quite some time.

While speaking with the media on Wednesday, Paul Chryst insinuated that the Badgers might not be done with the 2022 group and that they would also continue to pursue players in the transfer portal to round out their roster for next season. Running back, wide receiver, defensive line, and cornerback are all positions that I could see Wisconsin looking to add a player, either a 2022 recruit or an experienced transfer.

Quarterback is another possibility with the portal, but as things stand I think the defensive backfield and running back position are more likely given attrition. Recruiting is a non-stop adventure, so just because the 21 players that signed on Wednesday are now official, doesn't mean that Wisconsin is done with trying to improve their roster.