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Wisconsin football recruiting: new offers come out of big weekend of visitors

There was a TON of high end talent on campus this past weekend. At least four scholarship offers have already been announced.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (sometimes more) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!

New offers

  • 2024 3-star (Rivals only) WR Parker Livingstone (Lucas, Texas) out of Lovejoy High School was in Madison over the weekend and earned a scholarship offer from the Badgers. Holding 10 offers currently, Livinstone is also considering Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, Oklahoma State and Tennessee among others. There is one Crystal Ball prediction for the Razorbacks on 247 and On3 also has Arkansas as the favorite (they have Wisconsin in second place).

Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing around 185 pounds, Livingstone is the type of tall wideout that Alvis Whitted has been targeting on the recruiting trail. Rivals is the only recruiting service that has a rating for him so far and they place him as the No. 49 WR in the country and No. 33 player in Texas.

During his sophomore season, Livingstone caught 44 passes for 983 yards (22.3 ypc) and 16 touchdowns. Here is his Hudl tape. He is a smooth runner, both with the football and when running routes. His height is obviously an advantage and he appears to be a willing, if not technically sound, blocker. With two more years of high school ball ahead of him, this is a player who could get a lot more offers.

  • 2024 4-star LB Payton Pierce (Lucas, Texas) also out of Lovejoy High School joined his teammate Livingstone in Madison over the weekend and also left with an offer from Wisconsin. Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Virginia Tech have offered Pierce already, among others.

Standing around 6-foot-1 and weighing in the neighborhood of 220 pounds, Pierce is a highly touted recruit for the ‘24 class. Each recruiting site does things a little differently, as you’ve no doubt noticed, and Rivals has him rated as the No. 1 ILB and No. 56 player overall in the nation. 247 doesn’t specify between ILB and OLB (they have LB and EDGE) and their Composite lists Pierce as the No. 8 LB and No. 93 player in the country for the 2024 class.

Any way you slice it, Pierce is a good player. Here is his sophomore Hudl tape. Last year he had 131 tackles (21 TFL), six sacks, five forced fumbles and six passes broken up. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns and threw (!!!) for another two on offense. This dude gets into the backfield with a quickness! Sheesh. He slices through the offensive line like they aren’t even there and then punishes the quarterback/running back with bruising tackles. He would be a monster in the A-gap blitz that Wisconsin has found success with using players like Jack Sanborn or Chris Orr. He is athletic and strong and doesn’t let being blocked stop him from making a play.

I don’t know if he and Livingstone are some sort of package deal or if they were just traveling north together because they are pals, but Wisconsin should do everything they can to try and get both of them return to Madison for an official visit.

  • 2023 3-star (247 only) RB/ATH Jaquez Keyes (Ironton, Ohio) out of Ironton High School earned an offer from the Badgers over the weekend as well. Wisconsin is Keyes’ first Power 5 offer (most of the MAC and Army have also offered) and Evan Flood at 247 put in a Crystal Ball for him to UW on Sunday morning, not even 24 hours after Keyes announced the scholarship offer.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing just under 210 pounds, Keyes is a solidly built tailback. 247 Sports has him rated as the No. 77 ATH and No. 46 player in Ohio for the ‘23 class, but the Badgers want him at running back. Keyes has a physical, north/south running style that will appeal to purists of Running The Damn Ball but he also has a little wiggle when he’s out in the open field. Here is his Hudl tape.

There are other Power 5 programs that are interested in Keyes, but Wisconsin offering first should be a large check mark in their favor when it comes to decision time.

  • 2024 4-star (247 only) TE Christian Bentancur (Woodstock, Ill.) out of Marian Central Catholic High School also picked up an offer from Wisconsin over the weekend. He has other offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Washington. He has been touring around the midwest this spring and received most of these offers while visiting the various campuses.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing around 235 pounds, Bentancur is ranked as the No. 235 player and No. 14 TE in the nation by 247 Sports. He is also the No. 5 prospect in the state of Illinois for the ‘24 class. He had 53 catches for 1,165 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Here is his Hudl video. Bentancur does everything you want a big, tall tight end to do. He wins jumps balls, he makes catches in traffic, he runs over people in the open field and he even has a few moves once he gets the ball beyond “being bigger than you.” His high school lines him up out wide a bunch, and he has success there, but he projects as a tight end in the Big Ten who can split out wide to give the offense another look.

Hard to tell how he’ll be as a blocker, but he has a ton of Jake Ferguson to his game (we’ll send our I-team to figure out who Bentancur’s grandfather is) and that worked out pretty well for the Badgers.