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Wisconsin football recruiting: 4-star lineman, 2 committed prospects among Badgers targets

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The Badgers go back into Florida, and might finally land themselves a prospect from Virginia.

New Smyrna Beach, Fla., guard Jalen Merrick..
New Smyrna Beach, Fla., guard Jalen Merrick..
Student Sports

You always wonder just how big a recruiting weekend is going to be when there's a big game scheduled at home. Sure, you're not gonna chicken out and not schedule official visitors for a weekend that proves to have some electricity in the air. But, a losing weekend isn't likely to prime the commitment pump near as much as a winning one. Why am I telling you this? Because for a big weekend, the Badgers have some interesting prospects coming.

The Committed

Now while we all talk about just how helpful Kyle Penniston has been for recruiting outreach, we need to give credit to David Moorman. The Moor Daddy was on campus for the big weekend of September 27 as well as the Maryland game on October 25. The Pickney, Mich. tackle takes his official visit this weekend. Joining him will be Ft. Lauderdale (Westminster), Fla. track star and return man Andrew James, as well as three-star West Hills (Chaminade), Calif. prospect Brandyn Lee.

The Visitors

OG Jalen Merrick
6'5 295 lbs.
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

If the Badgers land the 4-star guard from New Smyrna Beach, it's going to be something of an upset. Not to say the Badgers don't have a chance to pull it, they have a strong pitch for any would be offensive linemen. They get the first visit, and for someone who's only played football for two seasons, he has the functional strength to put a defender on skates. As a guard, he has a chance to be a monster.

But right now, the Badgers are in the middle of a nasty Top 7. He'll visit Arkansas next week. After which there's Florida State and LSU. Think that's not challenging? The rumor is that he takes his final visit to Alabama. The Badgers have a chance to get a foothold, but adding in Florida and Miami to this list? Sure, he's cousins with D'Cota Dixon, but this doesn't seem like

CB T.J. Griffin
5'9 180 lbs.
Virginia Beach (Ocean Lakes), Va.

Could the Badgers finally pull a prospect from the Old Dominion? The Badgers were in on this prospect pretty hot and heavy over the summer, but then Isaac James and Rashard Causey came in play and Oregon offered T.J. Griffin and the Badgers seemed to move on. Truth be told? The only real weakness is his height. He's got that quick aggression to him. He also has some good shiftiness in the return game. He could become a weapon.

247sports' Crystal Ball has had him trend sharply toward Wisconsin. Griffin doesn't have another scheduled visit after this. It may be over for the Badgers in their recruitment of Causey, because if there's a target that's taking an official, it means that if they're willing to commit, they're willing to accept them.

CB Chris Barr
5'10 165 lbs.
Jacksonville (Trinity Christian Academy), Fla.

Which is why Barr is interesting in and of itself. The three-star Utah Commit is a corner that is stylistically similar to Griffin and Isaac James. The height may not be optimal, but that fast, quick, and aggressive thing does fit what Barr would bring to the table as well. He's got Florida state level track sprinters speed and he can do some interesting things with the ball in his hands. But as it stands, he's a cornerback until further notice, and if he does anything this week, it might be to make sure James reserves a spot in terms of a commitment. Though Barr is athletic enough that offense would be an option if the board fell that way.

As a prospect, I would be happy if Barr came aboard. But if he does, considering the Badgers like James so much right now, Gary Jennings still hasn't taken a second official visit, and the Badgers will be waiting two weeks for whatever happens with Shaquery Wilson, Barr might be more of an end game prospect than a prospect who gets snapped up sometime this week.

LB Andre Smith
6' 230 lbs.
Jacksonville (Trinity Christian Academy), Fla.

This three-star North Carolina commitment has been looking around as well, taking a previous official visit to Nebraska on September 20th and visiting North Carolina on October 4th. As it stands, considering just how the open the two-deep is at inside linebacker? The Badgers have a shot to make it a decision. And I'm gonna tell you, I'd like it a lot if  Smith flips to Wisconsin.

This is a Hudl profile of a good athlete who is unafraid to explode through contact, has good athleticism in coverage, developing pass rush moves, and has set up both at inside and at middle linebacker. In short, this is a prospect tailor made for Dave Aranda. Without attrition, he's a very interesting prospect. And with just how wide open the two-deep looks like it might be next season, he would have a chance to play quickly.

So there it is. A star prospect we're hoping to make an impression on, two wavering commits who just want to make sure the know where they stand, and someone who looks like he's about ready to join the Badgers. It's not a numerically rich day for official visitors, but between these four and Concord (Tropia), Ill. prefered walk-on candidate Dean Arendt, it looks like the Badgers should have another couple of prospects committed and ready for the class of 2015.