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Wisconsin football recruiting: 2022 3-star safety Austin Brown picks the Badgers

Wisconsin landed one of their top defensive targets in the class of 2022.

@BadgerFootball; UW Athletics Communications

The Wisconsin Badgers were red hot on the recruiting trail to close out the month of June, adding nine players in only 10 days. So far that momentum has carried over into July, as Paul Chryst and his staff landed one of their top defensive targets in the class of 2022 for some Fourth of July fireworks.

Safety recruit Austin Brown of Johnston City, Ill. announced his commitment to the Badgers on Instagram Live this Sunday afternoon. His other finalists included Boston College, Illinois, Michigan and Northwestern. He also held offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue, TCU and Vanderbilt during the recruiting process.

Browns was busy during June, taking five official visits and also adding an unofficial visit to Iowa. He kicked off the month with an official to Madison that set a high bar and most recently finished off a visit with the hometown Fighting Illini. In the end, his trip to Wisconsin put the Badgers at the top of the heap, and he represents one of the bigger wins on the recruiting trail for this cycle.

At 6-foot-1 and hovering around 200 pounds, Brown has great size for the safety position. On film, he appears to be a sure tackler and he can move fluidly in coverage. Fast and physical to the ball, he is a big addition to the Badgers’ defense. As a junior, he rushed for over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns while playing both quarterback and running back on offense. On the defensive side, he added 36 tackles, two forced fumbles and two passes defended.

A really good athlete, Brown reportedly runs a 4.5 and is currently tabbed as the No. 6 player in the state of Illinois, and No. 21 safety in the country for his class. He is ranked as a four-star by 247 Sports and a three-star by Rivals.

Brown is a recruit that fits nicely with what Jim Leonhard wants. Brown brings high upside and versatility on defense. He played primarily as a free safety for his high school, but he could project to multiple different positions at the next level. Given his hard-hitting ability and quickness, he could play more of a strong safety role with the Badgers, allowing him to come down into the box against run-heavy teams similar to how Mike Caputo was deployed while he was at Wisconsin. Depending on how Brown grows he could also become a linebacker as well, but safety seems like a more natural position right now.

With the addition of Brown, the Badgers are now up to 11 commitments in the class of 2022 and have jumped into the top-30 of the team composite rankings by 247 Sports. Expect more fireworks over the next few weeks as many of the top prospects on Wisconsin's board are expected to announce this month as well.