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What are the next steps for Luke Fickell and the Badgers?

Fickell highlighted three positions that they’ll look to target for the next recruiting cycle.

Early signing day has passed, and new head coach Luke Fickell did not fail to impress in his first efforts with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Overall, Wisconsin added 20 total players in the current cycle: 14 via scholarship, four walk-ons, and two transfers.

Fickell and his staff were able to maintain several scholarships from the previous regime, while adding several key pieces at positions of need, including four-star defensive backs Amare Snowden and Braedyn Moore, as well as wideout Trech Kekuhana, who flipped in the 11th hour from Arizona after meeting with Fickell virtually.

With the first signing day out of the way, what are the next steps for Fickell and the Badgers?

Three positions of Need

Offensive Line

In his Wednesday press conference on national signing day, Luke Fickell acknowledged that he wanted to add extra bodies in the offensive line room after only one scholarship player, James Durand, committed thus far.

As for why Fickell didn’t gravitate toward adding more pieces, the head coach stressed the importance of not rushing the process and instead completing a thorough evaluation to find the best fits for Wisconsin.

One potential name to keep an eye on? OL Joe Crocker, who recently de-committed from Mississippi State.

Crocker was a target of the previous staff, who had initially locked down a verbal commitment from offensive lineman Christopher Terek, but were left without their choice after the latter de-committed following the coaching change.

Crocker has taken multiple visits to Wisconsin previously, and Fickell has stressed the importance of keeping players tide to the program, praising the efforts that the previous regime made in scouting those recruits.

Wide Receiver

A secondary offensive position that Fickell may look to target? Wide receiver.

Despite re-acquiring Markus Allen after he entered the transfer portal and flipping Trech Kekuhana, Fickell could still add bodies to the position group.

Currently, the Badgers are one of the teams in the mix for Chicago wide receiver Malik Elzy, who plans to make his decision at the All-American Bowl in January.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Fickell remains with his current group of receivers or looks to add another player, given that Wisconsin’s top three wideouts all return in 2023.

Defensive Line

The defensive line was one of the weaker areas of Wisconsin’s recruiting class, as the Badgers failed to land a single scholarship player in the early signing period.

Wisconsin initially held commitments from Roderick Pierce and Jamel Howard under the previous staff, but both de-committed following the coaching change, and the former has already committed to Michigan.

The Badgers are still in the mix for Howard, who is expected to make his decision near the second signing day, but Fickell said that the team will look to add players at the position in the next recruiting cycle.

As for why there weren’t signees, Fickell provided the same reasoning for the offensive line: the coaching staff didn’t want to rush the decisions and sign players that weren’t necessarily the best fits for the program.

However, Wisconsin did land defensive end Manny Mullens, brother to Badgers’ defensive end Isaiah Mullens, and two walk-on defensive ends, adding some depth to the program.


While Fickell has remained adamant in his advocacy for building through high school recruits as opposed to the transfer portal, don’t rule out the latter option in the short term.

For each of the above positions, Fickell did say that the team could add a younger body via the transfer portal, acknowledging the necessity for a right fit with the program.

With the excitement built through the first few weeks of the Fickell era, it’ll be intriguing to see how Wisconsin’s new head coach rounds out the roster and his coaching staff in the coming weeks.