I know I said that this wasn't going to come back until December. But you know what? I'm in the mood to talk some recruiting. And the fact of the matter? The Badgers are busy as we're circling around the final 10 or so commitments for 2014.
It's entirely possible there was some nervousness in regards to when BYU came around. Keishawn Richardson came up and the fact of the matter is he looks like he might be one who's ready to sign on the dotted line and play some cornerback for the Badgers. It feels like it's a matter of "when" more than "if."
But the visit list only ended up being four players. Austin Hudson came up and it looks like the Badgers aren't going to have to worry about the post-commitment offers from Georgia and Missouri. The other two?
CB Chris Lammons 5'9.5, 170 pounds
Lammons is from the same high school as freshman sensation Sojourn Shelton, so it's entirely possible the Florida commit just wanted to say hi to his friend. But that being said, Lammons is a four-star talent and when you look at how the Badgers have had a tendency to leave questions in the mind of the recruits, there might be a chance this becomes something. But don't lose sleep if Lammons doesn't flip.
RB Caleb Kinlaw 5'11, 191 pounds
If you've been wondering who the planned third running back for the Badgers is going to be, it may be this Goose Creek, S.C., native. I know what you're saying. "But what about Chris James?" Well, this may be one of those things where the staff sees something we don't. Despite James' interest, there's a reason he's rescheduled twice (he's not coming this week) and may be heading to Pittsburgh.
It also seems like Kinlaw might be ready to flip from being a Georgia Tech commit. A cursory glance at his Hudl page shows that he runs fluidly and with a power. As it goes, this recruitment process has gone quickly, and if any other non-Joe Mixon running back is going to sign on the dotted line, I think we have to be ready for Kinlaw. Thomas Hammock has shown a good eye for talent here and this is one he's recruited personally.
For the Indiana game, there's a surprising amount of talent coming. I've already made previous mention of what a Michael Lazarus or a Natrell Jamerson would bring the table on the last roundup. But there are three other prospects that would be solid fits for the Badgers if they signed on the dotted line.
LB Errol Clarke 6'3, 240 pounds
After the transition last season, the coaching staff made a run at D'Vonta Derricott, but the Garden City Community College linebacker decided to commit to Kansas State. But the Badgers -- and this would prove to be a theme throughout the year -- went after a teammate of his. As of now, the Badgers are the favorites for this four-star JUCO inside linebacker. He has offers from Cincinnati, Kansas State and South Florida, but he seems like he's waiting for the academics to clear before he commits.
TE Kano Dillon 6'5, 225 pounds
Again with the teammate theme. Dillon is another pass-catcher from Ocala, Fla., who has spent his Fridays working with Jamerson. And like Jamerson, Dillon has the speed to be a match-up problem. If and when the three-star tight end signs on the dotted line, odds are he's going to be used as a move tight end and not be the sort of blocker that a Beau Benzschawel would be. But with offers only from Florida International and UAB, it may only be a question of when he signs on the dotted line.
K Rafael Gaglianone 6'0, 225 pounds
I know Jack Russell has been steady for the past two weeks, but the placekicking troubles the Badgers have faced have run so deep over the past couple of years that Gaglianone, being the 10th-best kicker (and second-best uncommited kicker) looks like he could be a more-than-welcome addition. The Chattanooga Baylor student has a very strong leg, and as he's only received an offer from North Carolina State, he seems like he would be inclined to join.
The Northwestern game may have had the quality, but the Penn State game visit list is currently at 12. Four have already committed (Chris Jones, Joe Keels, Ula Tolutau and Taiwan Deal), and you can look at Kolton Miller and Tyler Luatua in the last roundup. As for the other six?
CB Tee Shepard 6'1 197 pounds
Hey look, it's another four-star cornerback the Badgers are playing from behind on! The former Notre Dame recruit and JUCO standout is looking like he's going to stay on the Dixon side of the Mason-Dixon line as the Badgers are trailing behind Ole Miss and Oklahoma. That being said, the Badgers are usually good at generating interest if they come to Madison, and Shepard would make defenses have to pick their poison in the passing game. I mean, if they can close the gap.
CB Deion Hallmon 6'0, 175 pounds
He was one of the four who ended up not going to the Northwestern game. But along the way, Hallmon fell in love with the Badgers. They currently lead for this three-star cornerback and he does have the speed to make a name for himself in Madison (4.44-second 40-time). The Rutgers decommit is facing offers from Northern Illinois, Syracuse and West Virginia, but the odds are that if the Badgers accept, Hallmon's going to join up with his friend Shelton in Badger red.
RB Serge Trezy 6'2, 195 pounds
When you look, you see that he has a listed 40-time at 4.29 seconds. That's a time that will get you on the field quickly. And the JUCO from Eastern Arizona College is definitely someone who could provide some great value quickly. He's likely going to flip over and play some defense if he signs with Wisconsin. But he has that sort of athleticism that even if he's just returning kicks and punts, he could be a real success for the Badgers.
OLB Nico Firios 6'1.5, 220 pounds
Oh man, the Badgers are looking to get someone to flip from an SEC commitment. Well, a Kentucky commitment, but still. The Badgers are losing a whole bunch of linebackers from this iteration (Brendan Kelly, Conor O'Neill and Ethan Armstrong join Chris Borland in leaving the two-deep) and you're going to find the Badgers getting multiple linebackers out of the final list of their commitments. Firios, from Lyman High School in Longwood, Fla., is a three-star talent who would probably slot in as an attacking outside linebacker quite nicely.
ILB Greg Gooch 6'3, 240 pounds
Another in the series of dual-recruiting of high school teammates (he comes from Longwood with Firios), Gooch comes to Madison almost fully formed athletically. He has a listed 40-time at 4.5 seconds and is a tackling machine on the inside. He's with offers from Arizona, Iowa State, Louisville and Mississippi State among others, but there's only a visit to Iowa State in his process so far. There's definitely intrigue to him, and not just because he has a tremendously lyrical last name.
OLB/DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner 6'2 248 pounds
He is only a two-star recruit, but there's a lot to like about him. For one, he's also a well-regarded volleyball player. That means he can get up there and cause some problems on special teams and on the pass rush. Add that to a 4.6-second 40 time, and that's highly intriguing. For two, his brother Max was a four-star talent who may well have been somebody but for the dastardly nature of football and knees that couldn't handle it. For three? Considering the size of the class the Badgers want to go after, having someone of a LDS affiliation means he could well be used for a class in 2016. I know, a metagame consideration and kind of sleazy to say. But the Badgers are looking for 30 players, and someone who could be in for 2016 would only help matters.
3 thoughts to leave you with
1. If you're wondering why there wasn't any mention of Toa Lobendahn, it's simple: USC's resolidified that commitment. He's not visiting Florida, and he's not visiting us. Ah well. On to the next one.
2. Two other linebackers who might find themselves visiting Wisconsin both come from Florida. One is the Tampa Jesuit linebacker Vincent Jackson. He's one where the Badgers are playing from behind, but even getting a guy who has solid offers from Alabama, Miami, Ohio State and Oregon to come is worth a shot. The other is from German exchange student and high school teammate of D.J. Gillins (theme!) Jakob Johnson. He'd be a thumper of an inside linebacker. But still, the Badgers trail Tennessee with him.
3. Joe Mixon metagame update: While Joe Mixon did enjoy his visit to Florida State last weekend, the Badgers have not lost too much ground. But apparently Florida's bad season means the commitment of five-star running back recruit Dalvin Cook is in limbo. And if he goes anywhere, he's going to Florida State.
This means the shot still seems like a 50-50 one. That means Mixon could well be in Badger red this time next year.