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National Signing Day 2014 preview: Wisconsin

Talking chances, prognostication and a board full of takes.

Four-star, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., cornerback Chris Lammons.
Four-star, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., cornerback Chris Lammons.
Student Sports

UPDATE, Tuesday, 3:21 p.m.: This is now updated to reflect Rushing's commitment to Wisconsin and McGary's to Washington. It appears Lammons and Dixon are now Wisconsin's two remaining targets ahead of Wednesday.


So you know what happened this last week? The board got real clear. Andre Boggs reaffirmed his commitment to Rutgers. Melvin Holland Jr., chose Minnesota. Tavaris Williams got a visit, but the offer didn't come. And Koa Farmer flipped from Cal all the way to Penn State.

So basically if you want the too long, didn't read, version? The Badgers are in on four prospects. If they commit? They'll be accepted.

But you're here for more than that, right? You want to know who's coming and just how big this class is going to get. I'm here for you. We're going to find out just how close this class can get to 30.

CB Chris Lammons

Tuesday update: 93 percent of 247 Sports' crystal ballers have Lammons to South Carolina, as does SB Nation's Bud Elliott. That said, this one appears to be anything but over, as even 247's Evan Flood is saying some close to Lammons like Wisconsin over South Carolina ($).

Conventional wisdom: South Carolina leads, but Wisconsin has been in on the race since he was solidly on Florida's commit list. There's still a moving piece that would help sway matters. Wesley Green is a four-star cornerback from Lithonia, Ga., that the Gamecocks are heavily after. In fact, conventional wisdom has been trending that he would be the Gamecocks' third cornerback. So, even if you disregard the comfort factor of having Sojourn Shelton and Derrick Tindal already in tow, the chance for fast playing time is better in Madison.

When will the decision be made? National Signing Day (Wednesday)

How fast could Lammons see the field? Day one. There's an opening across from Shelton, and of the small and aggressive corners the Badgers have been after, Lammons seems to be the best athlete of the bunch.

Gut feeling with no empirical evidence: Green goes to South Carolina, and my gut says Wisconsin pulls the minor upset and gets him to Madison.

S D'Cota Dixon

Tuesday update: Flood reports that Wisconsin is very confident it will land Dixon:

D'Cota Dixon took an official visit to West Virginia last weekend and I'm told the visit did nothing to sway his final decision. I fully expect him to be a Badger on Wednesday. He will announce a final decision at 8:00 AM CST

Conventional wisdom: Like Rushing, all the momentum says Dixon will sign on the dotted line. In fact, there were erroneous reports that stated Dixon was to join Tindal and Cornelius Sturghill last week as a triple play of cornerback commits. But there is a visit to Morgantown that's going to come into play before he makes his decision. The Badgers have worked hard to get Dixon, though, and it would be an upset if West Virginia gets his services.

When will the decision be made? National Signing Day

How fast could Dixon see the field? The Badgers are recruiting him to play cornerback, and that involves a different set of skills than playing safety.* So I don't think Dixon would have much non-special teams action early. But despite that, the upside is definitely there for him to be an island of his own by his senior year.

Gut feeling with no empirical evidence: I think we get Dixon. A little less confident in Dixon than in Rushing. But I think he joins up.

*That football color commentary job will be mine yet with bon mots like this.

WR George Rushing

Rushing committed to Wisconsin on Monday.

Conventional wisdom: All the momentum says that Rushing's coming to Madison. Of course, that's definitely subject to change, and the Badgers don't have last ups here. But unless you hear rumors of TCU swaying things, Rushing's from the same area as Shelton and Tindal, and all reports were that he loved his time here. As I write this, it would feel like an upset if Rushing doesn't commit to the Badgers.

When will the decision be made? Monday night.

How fast could Rushing see the field? He doesn't come in with the star pedigree of a Dareian Watkins or the hype of a Krenwick Sanders. But the thing that impresses me most about Rushing is his sure hands. And in a battle where it looks to be so wide open for who catches passes, Rushing is a sleeper to get plays from day one.

Gut feeling with no empirical evidence: He's going to commit on Monday.

OT Kaleb McGary

McGary committed to Washington on Monday.

Conventional wisdom: While the Badgers have momentum in regard to McGary, he is a Washington prospect who has both Washington and Washington State in his final three. He took an extra day at Wisconsin, and the Badgers' staff took a day to visit his home as they made their final pitch. There's reason to hope, but there's also over 1,900 miles that seem to make a commitment an upset.

When will the decision be made? Monday.

How fast could McGary see the field? As he's currently listed at 270 pounds, there's likely going to need to be a redshirt year spent in the weight room before McGary gets a full go on the field. But McGary is a four-star talent for a reason. He may not start as a true freshman, but if he comes, he's talented enough to get a lot of experience quickly.

Gut feeling with no empirical evidence: I'd give the Badgers a solid 40-percent chance to get him. He's going to be a good player, and the Badgers have the momentum that gives them a a real chance to win here. But Washington offers enough beyond being in-state that it wouldn't be an upset if the Badgers finish out of the running for him.

So what does this mean for you, the casual fan? Well for one thing, the Badgers made their bones on their ability to develop players who may have slipped through the cracks and turn them into star players. And even without a superstar talent like Joe Mixon or a star like Jamil Kamara, this has the potential to be a class that the recruitniks will consider to be the best in Badger history.

And the best class in Badger history with good development will promise some big things down the line.

Will it be a top-25 class? Maybe. The staff would have to shoot the moon with the remainder of the board to get there, but it is definitely not out of the question. I still think the Badgers lose out on one of Lammons or McGary, but I would give them somewhere in the neighborhood of a 40 percent chance that if they land three, the fourth comes in.

Will there be a dramatic last-second flip if there's some sort of upset of a silent commit? I honestly don't have an idea as to whom. I mean, strange things always seem to happen on National Signing Day. Just Google "Alex Collins mom" for an example. If someone leaves the class, I don't think it will happen on National Signing Day.

Basically, outside of the two commit announcements on the day, there's always a chance that Gary Andersen has a trick up his sleeve, but I think we are pretty well locked in to somewhere between 28 and 30 very interesting recruits for the 2014 class of Badgers.