clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wisconsin football recruiting: Build-a-Badger ‘22, episode three

New, 3 comments

With official visit season on the horizon, Matt and Drew update their class projections.

Alabama v Wisconsin Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers have elevated their recruiting profile over the past three classes, culminating in a top-20 class in 2021, their highest team recruiting ranking in program history.

Last season, we at B5Q sat down monthly and hypothesized which players we thought would sign with the Badgers in an effort to give a status update on the overall outlook for the class with our Build-A-Badger series.

This year we are running it back, with our Build-A-Badger ‘22. While 2022 prospects will not be able to sign their letter of intent for many months, it is never too early for us to talk recruiting. You can check out the two episodes of this recurring series below.

While the Badgers did not secure any new verbal commitments, official visits are set to speed up the process in June, when Wisconsin has traditionally done well on the trail.

With the logistics out of the way, here is a position-by-position look at who Drew and Matt see as potential players to watch in the 2022 class at this time.


Quarterback (1)

Myles Burkett

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Quarterback 6-foot-2 205 pounds Franklin, Wisconsin Three-star; .8668; No. 29 QB

Matt’s Take: The lone commitment in the 2022 class, Myles Burkett is expected to be the only quarterback in the cycle. He committed to the Badgers way back in late January, and he has risen in the rankings, while being a strong ambassador for the class ever since. He will officially visit the weekend of June 18.

Drew’s Take: I know it doesn’t really matter but I still think it’s neat that Wisconsin could have an in-state kid be the face of the team again in a couple of years. Hopefully his recruiting ability continues to improve like his recruiting ranking.


Running back (0-1)

Matt’s Take: The Badgers have two high caliber backs set to be on campus the first week of June, and I think they will land at least one of the them.

Former Clemson running back Chez Mellusi will be on campus right away when the official visit window opens, as he seeks a new home via the transfer portal. Wisconsin is considered a favorite for the former 4-star prospect, and I think he will wind up a Badger following the visit.

If/when Mellusi, who has multiple years of eligibility remaining, commits there is a decent chance that Paul Chryst and company shut down running back recruiting somewhat.

The only other running back target that has been linked with Wisconsin as of late is Nicholas Singleton. The four-star standout from Pennsylvania is a long-shot, but he is set to take his official visit to Madison on June 4. Penn State is going to be tough to beat in his recruitment. I think that if Mellusi joins the team, it will be either Singleton or bust in the 2022 class.

Drew’s Take: I don’t think the Badgers take a tailback in 2022 unless Singleton is blown away by Madison on his official visit. However, Mellusi is, by all accounts, an extremely strong Wisconsin lean and should probably become a Badger after he visits campus in person on June 1.

With the 2021 class chock full of running backs (Antwan Roberts, Loyal Crawford, Jackson Acker and potentially Braelon Allen) there isn’t any need for a RB in the ‘22 class, especially since Mellusi has multiple years of eligibility left. However, there is a spot for Singleton in the class if he wants it...I just don’t think he will.


Wide receiver (1-3)

Vinny Anthony

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Wide receiver 6-foot-1 170 pounds Louisville, Kentucky Three-star; .8577; No. 95 WR

Tommy McIntosh

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Wide receiver 6-foot-5 200 pounds Dewitt, Michigan Unranked

Matt’s Take: Right now Tommy McIntosh and Vinny Anthony seem to be the odds on favorite to end up Badgers of the current offers. Both players are set to officially visit in the latter half of June, and are high on Wisconsin. Neither is highly ranked, but McIntosh definitely has the better offer list, which seems to expand by the day. McIntosh is also getting looks by Texas, Indiana, Iowa. Anthony is between Wisconsin and Duke right now.

Keep a look out for Aidan Gousby, who earned an offer a few weeks ago. He hails from the same high school as Jake Chaney, and his offer list is beatable. If Gousby lines up an official here soon, or if McIntosh commits prior to Anthony’s visit at the end of the month I could see this projection shift potentially.

Drew’s Take: The Badgers will lose three of their top receivers after this season when Kendric Pryor, Danny Davis and Jack Dunn finally exhaust their eligibility. So, while the Badgers picked up two commitments from wideouts in the ‘21 class, they’ll need another two in this class to keep numbers where they need to be.

McIntosh (6-foot-4) and Anthony (6-foot-1) both have good size for the position and seem to be flying a little bit under the radar. McIntosh has official visits lined up with Indiana, the Badgers and then Iowa in June so it’ll be interesting to see where his recruitment stands come July 1. Gousby is a nice third option, but he seems to definitely be that and on the outside looking in right now.


Tight end (0-2)

Andrew Keller

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Tight end 6-foot-6 210 pounds Waunakee, Wisconsin Unranked

Jeremiah Franklin

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Tight end 6-foot-4 223 pounds Walkersville, Md. 3-star; .8573; No. 45 TE

Matt’s Take: One of the positions that changed the most over the past couple months is tight end. The Badgers were one of the top contenders for Micah Riley-Ducker for the past few years, however it appears as though the two parties have gone their separate ways. After having him pegged to UW the past two editions of this exercise, I will pivot and guess that in-state tight end earns an offer from the Badgers. I projected him as part of the class back in January, and his name is red hot on the recruiting trail. The Waunakee product could very well be the guy in this class, but Wisconsin will need to move quickly if they want to beat out Iowa for his services. The fact that he does not yet have an offer, and he declined to camp this fall makes his recruitment a bit turbulent however.

Two other names to keep an eye out of are Jack Nickel and Jeremiah Franklin. Nickel was previously committed to Notre Dame but recently reopened his recruitment. Franklin is currently committed to Boston College, but he is another player that the Badgers have been after for a while. If Nickel or Franklin set up an official visit that could signal positive news for Wisconsin.

Drew’s Take: All of the recruiting drama with Riley-Drucker is so strange to me as I’m sure we’ll never find out what really happened between him and the Badgers. Did he overstate his position with Wisconsin? Did UW lead him on? Anyways, I’m certain (hopeful) that Wisconsin has a backup plan now that they are out on MRD. Keller seems like a top option but it is strange that the Badgers haven’t offered him yet.

While Franklin is still committed to BC, there has been pretty much constant chatter since Wisconsin offered him back in February that the Badgers could flip him. I like Franklin’s upside and I think he’ll be the TE that UW ends up taking.


Offensive line (1-3)

Carson Hinzman

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Offensive guard 6-foot-4 280 pounds Hammond, Wisconsin Four-star; .9469; No. 5 OG

Joe Brunner

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Offensive tackle 6-foot-6 300 pounds Milwaukee, Wisconsin Four-star; .9769; No. 7 OT

Barrett Nelson

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Offensive tackle 6-foot-6 260 pounds Stoughton, Wisconsin Three-star; .8405; No. 109 OT

Matt’s Take: Some slight changes along the projected offensive line group from me. I have been pretty steadfast in believing Brunner and Hinzman will be part of the class, but Barrett Nelson is now in the mix as well. The younger brother of Jack Nelson, who is currently on the roster, Barrett had previously projected as a defensive lineman in the other two editions. The wildcard to watch is Billy Schrauth. The four-star, two-way standout, is one of the top targets that will be on campus June 4. Notre Dame is the perceived favorite, but Wisconsin still has a chance and the in-state draw. For now I will guess he winds up elsewhere, but a trio of Brunner/Hinzman/Nelson would be extremely strong.

Drew’s Take: It seems like we’ve been discussing the 2022 offensive line class for the Badgers for well over a decade now and I, for one, can’t wait until some decisions are made! Matt is correct in his thinking that Schrauth, while still doing his due diligence on the Badgers, is going to head elsewhere.

However, Brunner, Hinzman and Nelson will still be one of the best o-line classes in the country if they all choose to come to Wisconsin. Nelson won’t be an immediate impact guy, but he has the frame (and the genes) to be a player that starts his final two years on campus after redshirting or being a swing tackle that can fill in at multiple positions.


Defensive line (2-4)

Isaac Hamm

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Strong-side defensive end 6-foot-5 260 pounds Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Four-star; .8975; No. 18 SDE

Curtis Neal

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive tackle 6-foot-1 290 pounds Cornelius, North Carolina Four-star; .8957; No. 23 DT

KJ Miles

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive tackle 6-foot-3 280 pounds Jersey City, New Jersey Four-star; .8925; No. 30 DT

Felix Hixon

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Defensive tackle 6-foot-3 285 pounds Jackson, Ga. 3-star; .8738; No. 43 DT

Matt’s Take: After taking only one defensive lineman last year with Mike Jarvis, I think new defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej has a chance to really hit it big with the 2022 group. For now I will go extremely optimistic, and say that he lands three four-stars. Isaac Hamm has long been considered a Wisconsin lean, and he is a really gifted in-state athlete. Curtis Neal and KJ Miles are both out of state kids that the staff has strong ties to their areas. Neal hails form the same high school as Gio Paez and Devin Chandler, while Miles is from New Jersey, a state the Badgers have had a ton of success at in the past.

All three will be on campus this June for official visits, and Paul Chryst will look to close them out then. There are plenty of suitors for each, so it won’t be easy, but as of now I think the Badgers are in a really good spot to bring in a big-time defensive line class.

Drew’s Take: Hamm seems like he’s Wisconsin’s to lose at this point and, the native of Sun Prairie, could be one of the next players to commit. The Badgers definitely need to address the NT position in the ‘22 class as UW will lose Bryson Williams (graduation) and, potentially, Keeanu Benton (to the NFL).

Beyond Miles and Neal, Wisconsin will also have Quentel Jones and Felix Hixon (both 3-star DTs out of Georgia) on campus in June, showing just how important the position is in the class. I think there is definitely a line of demarcation between the four prospects and Miles and Neal are in the top tier while Jones and Hixon are the backup options.

I’m not quite as optimistic as Belz but I still think the Badgers nab Hamm, Neal and then Hixon for the class. It is extremely promising that Wisconsin changed d-line coaches this offseason and Kolodziej has been able to keep all of the previous prospects interested despite their primary recruiter changing.


Outside linebacker (1-2)

Luna Larson

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Outside linebacker 6-foot-2 200 pounds Baraboo, Wisconsin Unranked

Matt’s Take: I still think that Luna Larson will have a strong chance of earning an offer from the Badgers if he camps this summer.

Outside of him, the only other player that is still generating any buzz with Wisconsin is Sebastian Cheeks. The Badgers are still hard after him, but he has yet to set up an official visit. Instead, the Illinois native has visits set up with North Carolina and Texas. If he takes an official visit, I still think the Badgers could be a huge threat, but until that happens, the exponential rate he is accumulating new offers has lowered my confidence. For now I will guess he takes his talents elsewhere.

Drew’s Take: The Badgers have offered five linebackers, both inside and outside, total in the 2022 class. They don’t need to take any in the class if they don’t want to and until they make an offer to a new one I don’t think they will. (However, Cheeks is a definite take if he makes an official visit and wants to commit.)


Inside linebacker (0-1)

None??

Matt’s Take: I think Larson and Cheeks are both players that could play inside or outside, but for now I don’t see an inside linebacker as part of the 2022 class. The Badgers brought in a deep group of freshmen in the 2021 class, so I don’t necessarily see a need.

Drew’s Take: See above answer. The 2022 class is going to be small and linebacker is not an area of need.


Cornerback (1-3)

A’Khoury Lyde

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Cornerback 5-foot-10 170 pounds Jersey City, NJ Three-star; .8588; No. 67 CB

Caleb Coley

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Cornerback 6-foot-0 180 pounds Warner Robins, Ga. 3-star; .8527; No. 81 CB

James Monds III

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Cornerback 5-foot-10 170 pounds Fort Pierce, Fla. 3-star; .8527; No. 58 CB

Matt’s Take: Another position that has seen some recent changes in recruiting is cornerback. As of now the Badgers are slated to have three different corners on campus for official visits. Caleb Coley and A’Khoury Lyde will be in Madison the first weekend of June, and then James Monds will visit the final weekend of the month. I think Coley and Lyde are more likely to commit, but a recent offer from Clemson for Coley could shake up his recruitment. Avyonne Jones just decommitted from Oklahoma State as well, so it will be interesting to see if he reschedules his official visit with the Badgers.

For now I will guess that Lyde and Coley sign on, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Monds or Jones joined either. How things play out at cornerback will be fascinating to monitor.

Drew’s Take: Lyde has been on cornerback’s coach Hank Poteat’s board since Poteat was at Toledo and I think the fact that he continued to recruit Lyde once he came to Wisconsin will give the Badgers the edge in Lyde’s recruitment. I’d love to see the Badgers in the mix more with 3-star Avery Powell (Jersey City, N.J.) and 4-star Keenan Nelson, Jr. (Philadelphia) but those two appear to be looking elsewhere.

I’m going to guess that the Badgers take three CBs in this cycle, adding Monds and Coley to Lyde, because they can always use more depth at the position and, as you’ll see below, I don’t think they get a safety this class and may end up shifting a player there from CB.


Safety (1-2)

Austin Brown

Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Position Height Weight Hometown 247 Composite Ranking
Safety 6-foot-1 195 pounds Johnson City, Illinois Three-star; .8617; No. 43 S

Matt’s Take: Austin Brown is one of the only safeties that has been in regular contact with the Badgers, and at this point he seems to be the most likely candidate. Brown’s stock has risen since the last episode of our series, but Wisconsin is still a top candidate for his services.

Outside of Brown, Demari Henderson is another player that could emerge if he comes to Madison for an official.

Drew’s Take: 4-star safeties Xavier Nwankpa and Cristian Driver are headed elsewhere, which is a bummer because they both look to be very good players, and while Brown is listed as “warn” for Wisconsin on 247...I just don’t see Wisconsin sealing the deal here.


Specialists/Athletes (0-1)

Matt’s Take: I’m assuming that the Badgers will seek help at kicker/punter via walk-ons, but that will likely hinge on how the special teams performs this season.

Drew’s Take: I agree. It would be amazing if Wisconsin could sneak into a final group for 3-star ATH Jaren Kanak (Hays, Kan.) but his recruitment has blown up since UW offered and he’ll probably be headed elsewhere.

Overall class

2022 Build-a-Badger ‘22 Part III

Matt's Class Drew's Class
Matt's Class Drew's Class
QB (1): Myles Burkett QB (1): Myles Burkett
RB (0): RB (0):
WR (2): Vinny Anthony, Tommy McIntosh WR (2): Vinny Anthony, Tommy McIntosh
TE (1): Andrew Keller TE (1): Jeremiah Franklin
OL (3): Carson Hinzman, Joe Brunner, Barrett Nelson OL (3): Carson Hinzman, Joe Brunner, Barrett Nelson
DL (3): Isaac Hamm, Curtis Neal, KJ Miles DL (3): Isaac Hamm, Curtis Neal, Felix Hixon
OLB (1): Luna Larson OLB (0):
ILB (0): ILB (0):
CB (2): Caleb Coley, A'Khoury Lyde CB (3): Caleb Coley, James Monds III, A'Khoury Lyde
S (1): Austin Brown S (0):
ATH (0): ATH (0):
Total: 14 Total: 13

Now, it should be noted that Wisconsin’s class will be larger than what we are predicting here. It’ll probably be closer to 17 or 18 once attrition and whatnot are accounted for, but in terms of the offers out right now and who is interested...this is what we’ve got.