You want to talk some recruiting? I'll talk some recruiting ... apparently I am the recruiting guy. And there's enough new news here that we can make some discussion on the process. So considering the likelihood of Wisconsin coming down with 30 commits while standing at 21 currently, let's see if we can't do a priority ranking of whom the Badgers are still in on for their final nine.
Just remember, recruiting can be a total crapshoot, and between uncommitable offers, academics and the priorites of teenagers, this could turn out to be wildly off. But let's see if I can get something close.
1. RB Joe Mixon,
You shouldn't be surprised here. Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw are both going to be fine collegiate running backs for the Badgers, but Joe Mixon would force the issue even if Melvin Gordon stayed. Sometimes you can chase stars, but in Joe Mixon's case? Only injury or mistake can blunt the hype.
2. CB Tee Shepard,
The junior college cornerback may not be as likely to come as some of the others on the list, but Tee Shepard has the frame (6'1, 197 pounds) and the experience to step right into the starting line-up across from Sojourn Shelton. He's visiting Saturday, and the Badgers are very good at gaining a recruit's attention on a visit. It may end up similar to how they fell short with UCLA commit John Plattenburg, Jr., but Shepard will be a definite take if he offers to commit.
3. OT Kolton Miller,
Getting Kolton Miller to commit would answer a lot of questions for the recruiting process. For one, it would give the Badgers a second high-impact tackle to work with Jaden Gault. For two, it would probably provide an answer to the question of where Beau Benzschawel will play. For three, it would give the Badgers four potential starters by 2016 from this class, and Miller might be the best of the bunch.
4. WR Jamil Kamara,
Dareian Watkins could well go here, but the fact that the Badgers seem to have locked in a potential star in Krenwick Sanders means Jamil Kamara is slightly less of a need. That being said, he's 6'2 and over 200 pounds, and moves quickly with good hands. If Wisconsin can beat out Virginia -- and yes, the Badgers are going to be going up against the Cavaliers, and to a lesser extent, Pittsburgh -- he could well start right away.
5. ATH Dareian Watkins,
I could make a joke about how Kamara could go here, but you know what? If the Badgers get Watkins but not Kamara, they're in great shape. Watkins was athletic enough to play quarterback for Galion (Ohio). He was smart enough to get a commitment from Northwestern. The Badgers are way ahead on this commitment, and he could well join Sanders as a true freshman starter.
6. CB Chris Lammons,
Here's how well Wisconsin has been doing: If the Badgers somehow shoot the moon on the top five, Chris Lammons is an automatic take. I'm not going to dare make a mention of how Georgia Southern rolling into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and literally running over Florida helps Wisconsin... but that's not going to hurt the Badgers' chances one iota. Lammons might not be Shelton, but there's a chance for the Badgers to get something big if he flips from Florida.
7. S Andre Godfrey,
As it goes, taking someone to be the next Michael Caputo seems like a pretty savvy sort of idea. I think the moment that Andre Godfrey's ready to commit, the Badgers will make space for him. Sure, they have Austin Hudson and Lubern Figaro coming around the bend. But Godfrey would be the sort of take that allows for some top-notch attacking in a Dave Aranda defense. Of the three-stars, I'd vote him most likely to be an insta-take.
8. TE Kano Dillon,
When in doubt, assume the Badgers will go after the fast guy, and Kano Dillon has the triangle numbers to cause problems. Florida's making a late and hard charge for the tight end teammate of Natrell Jamerson, but Dillon's got that speed that if and when he qualifies academically, any commitment would likely result in an automatic acceptance.
9. RB Serge Trezy,
Speaking of speed, 247 Sports lists Serge Trezy with a 4.29 40-time. That will definitely play somewhere, and just because he's listed as an all-purpose back doesn't mean he's signing to be in the Running Back University. Bill Busch is recruiting him -- he's going to be a sort of tall, fast guy in the secondary. Nothing wrong with that. Worse comes to worse, he could Myles Jack some things and play both ways.
10. CB Keishawn Richardson,
Looking like a Badger once they want to say yes, he's welcome to come. And while he may not have the reputation of a Lammons or a Shepard, I can see a scenario where he comes in and presses for a starting role straight away. And he's got the closing speed to be a nightmare considering people aren't going to throw at Shelton very much.
11. LB Errol Clarke,
Clarke is one of the many linebackers who had to reschedule his official visit. It looks as if Michael Lazarus is going to stay out west (he's visiting Washington Friday) and the Badgers seem to have cooled on Greg Gooch and Nico Firios. Clarke has to reschedule his visit, but my assumption is that he's the top linebacker on the board Wisconsin's likely to get. And as such, if the Badgers don't shoot the moon, he becomes a take if the academics break right.
12. OT Jacob Maxwell,
This 6'6, 280-pound offensive tackle might not have the star quality of other recruits, but the Northern Illinois commit had a tremendous state run for the Greendale Human Beings (I'm assuming) and caught the eye of the coaching staff along the way. Don't let the stars fool you -- at this point in the game, if there's a recruit that's getting a new offer, it's because the coaches see something. It's why Florida's charge on Dillon is worrisome, and why Northern Illinois has to worry about a flip here.
13. WR George Rushing,
The 6'1 Fort Lauderdale, Fla., receiver is scheduled to be one of the first visitors in the off-time between the end of the regular season and the bowl game. He's a Louisville commitment, and in all seriousness, his Hudl profile makes me think that the Badgers should consider taking a sixth receiver if he desires to flip. He has good hands, quickness and has shown that he'll play some defense.
(A passing game? Growing in Madison? Whoa.)
I'm leaving a couple of names out on account of the fact that Badger247's Evan Flood has Deion Hallmon projected to go to Northern Illinois. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner just might not be a commutable offer, either, considering where the Badgers are at defensive end and outside linebacker right now.
And then there's always the possibility they can close the gap with a Frank Ragnow or a Vincent Jackson, and that would change the game the Badgers have for their final nine likely commits. But as of today, Wisconsin legitimately has a chance to get itself a program-altering class.