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How Luke Fickell landed his first recruit at Wisconsin

Inside the process behind Luke Fickell’s first recruitment: Three-star DB Jonas Duclona.

Luke Fickell began his time at Wisconsin with a splash last week, landing his first set of commitments, which was followed by a transfer commit from former Oklahoma quarterback Nick Evers over the weekend.

Fickell, known for his recruiting ability and development, entered a situation of unrest, as players had seemed devoted to interim head coach Jim Leonhard, but has showcased why he was hired with a series of recruits to the Wisconsin 2023 class, while maintaining the commitments of several current Badger recruits.

The first recruit that sparked the shockwave? Three-star defensive back Jonas Duclona, who had initially committed to Cincinnati while Fickell was their head coach, before re-opening his recruitment.

Duclona spoke to Bucky’s 5th Quarter on his decision of choosing Wisconsin, as well as his relationship with Fickell.

The Florida cornerback acknowledged that his relationships with the former Cincinnati staff had been important in his process, leading him to commit to Wisconsin.

“The relationship I’ve built with the old Cincinnati staff, which is the new staff [at Wisconsin], is what led me to the decison of picking Wisconsin,” Duclona said. “Madison is a great place with lots of great history, and many greats have come through here.”

Duclona now joins a cornerback room that returns top cornerback Alexander Smith, but loses starter Jay Shaw, key reserve Justin Clark, and former four-star Semar Melvin, who transferred to Michigan State.

Additionally, the three-star recruit intends to early enroll, telling Bucky’s 5th Quarter that he plans to arrive on campus on January 15th, ensuring that he’ll be a participant in spring practices.

While there was uncertainty given the change in schools, Duclona appreciated Fickell and the recruiting staff’s message, which ultimately led to his decision.

“[Coach Fickell and the staff] just want me to trust the vision they have for Wisconsin and expect me to contribute to that,” Duclona said.

Duclona was followed by four-star safety Braedyn Moore in his recruitment to Wisconsin, leading to several other commits over the past week, improving the Badgers’ recruiting class for 2023 after they were severely depleted following the end of the regular season.

In the 2023 class, Duclona joins fellow three-stars Jace Arnold, AJ Tisdell, and Justin Taylor as the incoming cornerbacks for Wisconsin, which should insulate their depth to make up for the losses at the position group.