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Wisconsin football recruiting: Badgers looking to hit it big on June 4 weekend

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The Badgers are loading their first official visit weekend in over a year with top talent.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wisconsin is a beautiful place regardless of the time of year. However, in early June when it’s bright and sunny and students are walking around outside and it’s 80 degrees, it’s tough to rival how picturesque Madison is, sitting between the lakes and the Terrace and all that comes with downtown Madison near campus.

Student Union Patio, University Of Wisconsin, Lake Mendota, Madison, Wisconsin. Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Historically, these official visits in the summer have helped Wisconsin land some of their biggest fish in recruiting. Most recently, prospects like Nick Herbig (Hawaii) and Spencer Lytle (California), who have been sought after nationally, have chosen the Badgers after a weekend in Madison with their potential future teammates.

The class of 2022 currently only has one commitment, with that being Franklin 3-star QB Myles Burkett. He’s set for an official visit on the weekend of June 18. 4-star ATH/S/ILB/RB Braelon Allen (Fond du Lac) was originally the first commitment of the 2022 class, but re-classified into the 2021 class, and will be on campus enrolled in school in June.

The first weekend of June is shaping up to be a huge weekend for the Badgers, as they’re bringing in their biggest and best recruits to campus. With ten scheduled as of May 19, let’s take a look at the group and see what these potential future Badgers bring to the table.

In-State Talent

You’re going to be shocked, but the in-state talent is all along the trenches as all four prospects are either offensive or defensive linemen.

Joe Brunner, OT, 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, Whitefish Bay High School

Brunner is currently ranked by 247sports as the No. 55 overall recruit in the 2022 class, and the No. 7 ranked OT in the country. It doesn’t take long to see why Brunner is so sought after. He’s got the size, athleticism and nasty demeanor the Badgers have always looked for in their offensive linemen, and Brunner should have little trouble fitting into the OL room in Madison. Nearly every clip is him finishing his man to the ground, even drawing the ire of his foes from time to time, which many offensive linemen will tell you that getting the opposing defensive linemen mad only helps the offense.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.

Isaac Hamm, DL, 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Sun Prairie High School

Hamm is currently ranked as the No. 308 overall recruit in the 2022 recruiting class, and the No. 18 ranked “Strongside Defensive End” in the country. Hamm has long been considered one of the stronger possibilities to end up a Badger in this class. A long, rangy defensive linemen, Hamm projects to be a down defensive lineman, or a “3-4 defensive end” rather than a stand up pass rusher like the Badgers use in their defense. At the high school level, often times a good defensive lineman can take over a game, and when you watch Hamm’s tape, that happens on a consistent basis. They moved him around from the edge to playing inside as a three-technique, and at both spots he simply over-matched the opposition. Hamm is also close friends with Braelon Allen, even having a lifting competition with him via Twitter during quarantine.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.

Carson Hinzman, OG, 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, St. Croix Central High School (Hammond)

Hinzman is currently ranked by 247sports as the No. 129 ranked prospect overall and the No. 5 rated guard in the country. He was 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds as a freshman in high school and I can personally attest to how he dispatched of my offensive line when I was coaching at Adams-Friendship HS. St. Croix Central is a power at the small school level in Wisconsin, and Hinzman has been a dominant force the entirety of his career thus far. His film shows an athletic big man who is very comfortable in space and climbing to the second level. At “only” 6-foot-4, Hinzman is likely a center or guard for Joe Rudolph. Hinzman is especially physical at his lower-level of competition, and should fit right in at Wisconsin.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.

Billy Schrauth, DL, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, St. Mary’s Springs High School (Fond du Lac)

Schrauth is currently the No. 154 overall recruit in the country by 247sports, and the No. 17 ranked offensive tackle. Schrauth is another monster among the small school ranks, playing for traditional power St. Mary’s Springs. It takes about two plays of Schrauth’s sophomore highlight tape to see exactly why he’s as highly sought after as he is. Offensively, he plays guard and consistently blows up defenders and finishes them to the ground. On defense, he plays defensive tackle and is seemingly unblockable. His quickness and power off of the ball makes him tough to deal with, then the athleticism and change of direction ability in the backfield is what really makes him a threat for tackles for loss. It’s encouraging that Schrauth is taking an official visit with as many high profile recruits, in-state and out, but Notre Dame is the favorite in his recruitment.
Does he become a Badger?: Hopefully, but probably not.


Defensive Backs

A’Khoury Lyde, CB, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.)

Lyde is ranked by 247sports as the No. 711 prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 71 ranked cornerback in the country. His tape is littered with examples of him making plays on the football. His ball skills are immediately what stand out in his highlights. A pure cover corner, he also shows some legitimate speed and his few clips on offense are just Lyde sprinting past the defense. Lyde looks to be a natural fit for the Badgers’ defense, as a good amount of his highlights are his high school playing zone defense, which Jim Leonhard plays a good amount of.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.

Caleb Coley, CB, 6-foot, 180 pounds, Houston County (Warren Robins, Ga.)

Coley is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 836 overall prospect in the 2022 class, and the No. 81 ranked cornerback in the nation. Coley’s tape couldn’t be more different than Lyde’s from the beginning, as the first four or five clips of Coley are him blowing up ball carriers. Not quite as much of a pure athlete as Lyde, Coley shows plenty of speed and ball skills, including one play where he comes from the middle of the field to pick off a pass on the sideline showing an incredible closing burst to the ball. Coley played a lot more man coverage in high school than Lyde, but display the traits Wisconsin looks for in their defensive backs (tackling, length, ball skills).
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.

Austin Brown, S, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Johnson City (Ill.) High School

Brown is rated by 247sports as the No. 694 overall prospect in the nation, as well as the No. 43 best safety. Brown comes from a lower level of competition in southern Illinois, and it’s immediately obvious that he’s quite clearly the best athlete on the field at all times. Playing quarterback, running back, and safety for Johnson City, Brown looks like and plays like (please chill out) a poor man’s Braelon Allen from a play style standpoint. Brown is a smooth athlete, but likely projects to be a box safety/strong safety in the Wisconsin defensive scheme.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.


The Other Three

This is a terrible way to transition to these, but that’s why I make the big bucks.

Nicholas Singleton, RB, 6-foot, 210 pounds, Governor Mifflin High School (Reading, Pa.)

Singleton is rated as the No. 99 overall recruit in the country and No. 7 best running back in the country by 247Sports. It takes only the first clip of Singleton’s highlight tape to see why he is such a natural fit in Wisconsin’s offense, and that he’d be quite easily the most talented incoming back since Jonathan Taylor. He has good size at six foot and 210 pounds, and legitimate breakaway speed, paired with contact balance and can change direction without losing speed. Singleton is a home run swing by the Badger staff and while Wisconsin isn’t the easy runaway leader like they are with multiple guys on this list - Singleton would immediately find his way onto the field in some capacity, in my opinion, if he were to come to Wisconsin.
Does he become a Badger?: Gun to my head, no, but certainly a possibility.

Curtis Neal, DL, 6-foot-1, 290 pounds, William Amos Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)

Neal is ranked as the No. 327 overall prospect in the country by 247Sports, as well as the No. 23 best defensive tackle in the class of 2022. A different body type than is currently on the Wisconsin defensive line, Neal brings brute strength and power, along with some juice and movement ability. Neal tore his ACL in their final game of the playoffs this spring, so it’ll be interesting to see how his recruitment progresses with some of the bigger fish, but Neal likes Wisconsin and could be an interesting fit in their 3-4 defense. He’d be a big piece of new defensive coordinator Ross Kolodziej’s first class.
Does he become a Badger?: Not immediately, but eventually yes.

Felix Hixon, DL, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, Jackson (Ga.) High School

Hixon is rated by 247Sports as the No. 534 overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, as well as the No. 43 overall defensive tackle. Hixon’s tape is a lot of fun to watch, as he’s quick off of the football, has the athleticism to change direction in the backfield, the power to overwhelm blockers and collapse the pocket and rushing lanes. Hixon looks more like a three-technique, or an end, in Wisconsin’s scheme. Hixon is enticing due to his get-off, which will be interesting to see, as a lot of Wisconsin’s defensive line play has to do with reading blocks rather than shooting upfield. Hixon would be a welcome addition to Coach Kolodziej’s first class.
Does he become a Badger?: Yes.


Final Thoughts

I don’t mean to come off as a homer in this scenario (I’m usually the anti), but Wisconsin’s class being so low on commits at the moment (one) compared to them normally having half of their class complete heading into the official visits makes me think, maybe more than normal, these are their hand-picked “guys” that they’re really targeting. UW might think that some of these guys could be come quick and easy commitments, which would really get the ball rolling in this recruiting class.

This is obviously a heavy OL/DL/DB group, three groups of strength on the roster at the moment that need to be re-stocked consistently.

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wisconsin has Singleton on campus with three in-state, 4-star offensive linemen on the same date (even if Schrauth is likely a DL). Certainly doesn’t hurt to have two in-state, top 150 or so recruits to help convince a running back that Wisconsin is the place to be.