The 2022 early signing day has come and went with the Badgers inking 14 players to the 2022 class. This class is the smallest in quite some time, and while there are still a few big names on the recruiting side a la Carson Hinzman, the bigger watch might be on the transfer portal.
The transfer portal is a new beast in college football with some coaches loving it, some coaches hating it (shut up, Dabo), and others still trying to figure out what it means for the future of college football. Regardless of feelings, it's an enigma that is there and the coaches that use it to their advantage have so far, found success. Just look at Alabama, who picked up two of the top four players in the portal this past week in Eli Ricks and Jahmyr Gibbs. Or Michigan State, who added Heisman Trophy candidate RB Kenneth Walker III last season.
For Wisconsin, the portal is something the Badgers will need to use and could use quite heavily based on current scholarship distribution and recruiting numbers. The Badgers have dipped their toes in so far landing players like RB Chez Mellusi and DE Isaac Townsend for last year's team, but have not made a splash so far this year.
So, with that, where else could the Badgers look? Lets dive in.
Previously, Wisconsin did have one player committed from the portal in Michigan State’s Kalon Gervin. However, Gervin recently changed his mind and committed to play for the Kansas Jayhawks. Despite losing on Gervin it would make sense for the Badgers to pursue a player to help fill out that room with so many departures coming.
Cornerback Caesar Williams returned this year for his extra year and will not be back next year. Faion Hick has not announced his intentions yet, but some believe he will not opt into his extra year. Behind them, guys like Deron Harrell and Donte Burton have both hit the transfer portal so the Badgers certainly will have some spots to fill in that room. Wisconsin did bring in two corners to this year's class, but both seem like guys that will take some time to develop so bringing in a veteran makes plenty of sense.
A few names to keep an eye on are Hunters Sellers (formerly of Pitt) and Reese Taylor (formerly of Indiana). Both of these players were players that Wisconsin originally offered in high school, and interest for both could still be there. Sellers did not see the field much at Pitt, and Taylor would only bring a year of eligibility, but they both have previous links to Wisconsin.
Another position that Wisconsin will see major departures from is the wideout room. Danny Davis III and Kendrick Pryor are both departing from the program, so that leaves Chimere Dike as the only proven target in the room. There is no doubt talent behind him in the likes of Markus Allen, who has shown promise in bowl practice, but after that, the picture is still a bit murky.
We’ve seen the lack of explosiveness hurt Wisconsin’s offense the past two seasons and the Badgers could really benefit from finding a player the help give them a boost in that department for next Fall. The Badgers did bring in two wideouts in this years class in Vinny Anthony and Tommy McIntosh, but again, both players seem like they’ll need some time to develop.
Who the Badgers might target at the wide receiver position doesn’t have a ton of previous links, and so far, many players in the portal have found their future home. Wisconsin would likely want a player that is proven at the collegiate level which leads to a player like Taj Harris (formerly of Syracuse), and Jadan Blue (formerly of Temple).
Neither player was recruited by Wisconsin out of high school, but both provide upside. Harris is a former All-ACC wideout and has played a ton since his freshman year at Syracuse. If the Badgers could win that battle, I’m not so sure, but it would be a very impactful name to bring in.
This position is a bit more of a wild card, but you have to think the Badgers are going to kick the tires on some players in the portal. I don’t believe they’re ready to give up on the Graham Mertz experience, but it would not hurt for them to pursue someone who can give Mertz some competition this fall.
It’s clear that Wisconsin does not see a ton of promise in Chase Wolf and Danny Vanden Boom which leaves the likes of Deacon Hill and Myles Burkett. Burkett, an incoming freshman, will likely need quite a bit more time to develop.
There are a couple of names that Wisconsin could have interest in at the quarterback position. One obvious one is Parker McQuarrie formerly of UCLA. McQuarrie was high on the Badgers board coming out of high school and was in McQuarrie’s top three school choices when he decided on UCLA. Standing at 6-foot-7, McQuarrie might fight better in Wisconsin’s pro-style system.
Another name is Harrison Bailey, formerly of Tennessee. Bailey was not recruited by Wisconsin out of high school but could be a good fit for the Badgers. Both players bring four years of eligibility, which is likely what Wisconsin would want to pursue, rather than a one-and-done.