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Wisconsin football recruiting: previewing a big official visitor weekend

The Badgers welcome some top prospects to Madison this weekend for the first time in the official visit period this summer.

Student Union Patio, University Of Wisconsin, Lake Mendota, Madison, Wisconsin.
It’s Official Visit SZN, baby!
Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s summertime in Wisconsin, and you know what that means: trips to the lake, lots of summer shandies, grilling out brats, getting sun burnt on your formerly pale, winter body and lots of big 17-year olds seeing the UW-Madison campus and wondering if they want to play football here.

Yes folks, it’s the first big official visit weekend for the Wisconsin Badgers football team. Since summer visits were allowed by the NCAA a few years ago, these visits in Madison have been crucial in the football team’s recruiting, and often set the tone for classes and start some hot runs.

UW has already gained some momentum on the recruiting trail in May, adding five commitments last month.

But as the calendar switches to June, we look ahead at some of the recruits coming to Wisconsin starting on Friday June 3.

Tack Attack

Arguably the biggest name on UW’s recruiting board, top-100 prospect Tackett Curtis will be back in Madison this weekend.

The four-star linebacker from Many, Louisiana has been heavily recruited by outside linebackers coach (and fellow Louisianan) Bobby April, who has frequently visited Curtis and his family during the recruiting process.

Other teams in the hunt for the No. 56 ranked recruit according to 247Sports are USC, LSU and, our pals, Ohio State.

The rumors are that UW is in a good spot, and clearly the recent track record of linebackers from Wisconsin highlights the position as a strength, but a good visit this weekend can really give the Badgers an exclamation point on the recruiting trail.

Big names for the defensive line

Despite one commitment at defensive tackle already, two more big d-line prospects from out west will see Madison.

3-star Arizona-native My’Keil Gardner (listed at 6-foot-2, 275 pounds) and 3-star Californian Ashton Sanders (listed 6-foot-3, 295 pounds) will both be on campus. Both players are seen as top of the board targets, and it appears that Wisconsin and Cal are the top schools fighting for their services as of yet.

Nose tackle Roderick Pierce from Illinois has already committed to Wisconsin, but the Badgers are always looking to add some more beef up front on the defensive end.

Plus, the kids from the West Coast can see that Wisconsin is not just a winter hellscape.

*TO gif* That’s my quarterback

Another key prospect for the Badgers is 3-star quarterback Lincoln Kienholz from South Dakota.

The 6-foot-3, 185 pound signal caller from Pierre has torn up the Mount Rushmore State with over 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards last season. That seems exciting for Badger fans, as the offense seems to be looking into adding another dual-threat quarterback to the QB room after last year’s signing of in-state hero Myles Burkett.

Kienholz has UW listed in his final four schools alongside Washington, Wyoming and FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. The talented prospect is apparently the Badgers’ only name on the big board for quarterbacks. You can imagine head coach Paul Chyrst will want to get this commitment done ASAP.

Closing time?

Two 2023 UW commitments — OL James Durand from Arizona (side note, I want to keep calling him Jimmy Durand. It seems nice and Italian somehow) and LB Tyler Jansey from Illinois — are heading up to Madison. I don’t blame them for wanting a free trip to Madison, but they might also be looking forward to meeting other potential teammates and convince them to don the red and white.

Two names that UW would for sure be wanting to start to close that commitment are DB Kahlil Tate and OL Joe Crocker.

Tate is a lengthy defensive back from the Chicago area, who is apparently down between Iowa and the Badgers. According to Evan Flood ($), UW is in the best position for Tate — a 6-foot-3 defensive back capable of playing corner or safety — and some other prospects from the Chicago area. Maybe a fellow Chicagolandian like Jansey can help bring Tate up into the Badger State.

Crocker is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound mauler from Tennessee who new offensive line coach Bob Bostad really seems to have prioritized. The race is apparently down to UW and Michigan State, and maybe meeting some other linemen like Durand can help get Crocker to join up with the Badgers.

Other prospects:

Zach Ortwerth, three-starTE, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds from St. Louis, Mo.
Christopher Terek, three-star OL, 6-foot-6, 295 pounds from Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Nate Johnson, unranked CB, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds from Clearwater, Fla.