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Wisconsin football recruiting: DE Joe Keels flips to Nebraska

Tuesday, Wisconsin lost a key part in one of its strongest recruiting classes ever.

Graphic: Phil Mitten

Wisconsin has been lucky. There have been a lot of good recruits the Badgers have went hard for and secured. They've also been able to get commits to come to Madison. Tuesday, though, the Badgers lost one when four-star Highland, Kan., defensive end Joe Keels flipped his commitment to Nebraska from Wisconsin.

When he made his commitment to Wisconsin, Keels was considered an integral piece of the Badgers' front seven for 2014. It would have been possible for him to play multiple positions, and being cousins with Melvin Gordon certainly didn't hurt. But Keels took a visit to Lincoln, Neb., and scheduled a visit at West Virginia. Tuesday, Keels announced his decision to flip.

This puts a dent into Wisconsin's recruiting momentum, as Keels' decommit drops the Badgers' 2014 class two spots to No. 24 in 247 Sports' composite rankings. That's still good for third in the Big Ten, though, behind Ohio State and Michigan.

Wisconsin also still has depth at linebacker and a talent like Billy Hirschfield at defensive end coming in for next season. This may allow the Badgers to offer a talent like Kaleb McGary a chance to be recruited as a defensive lineman. He's listed as an offensive lineman, but a part of the reason why Washington has held the lead for McGary was his recruitment as a defensive end.