The Wisconsin Badgers have started the season 4-1, with their lone loss coming against now No. 19 Washington State in a close bout on the road, while their most recent win came over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in 24-13 fashion.
The on-the-field product is certainly coming together, but that’s not the lone focus for the Badgers, who have been extremely busy on the recruiting front, bringing in a significant number of visitors for each of their two home games thus far.
Among the bunch was 2024 three-star commit Raphael Dunn, who came down for his first gameday visit to Madison.
Dunn committed to the Badgers back in June and was in attendance for his third visit to Wisconsin, and the gameday environment stood out to him.
“I loved the gameday atmosphere,” Dunn said to Bucky’s 5th Quarter. “It felt electric everyone was helpful and excited and I loved how focused/ determined all the coaching staff was when seeing me and on the field.”
The commitment entering his senior season was a major decision for Dunn, who feels less stressed about the recruiting process now that it’s in the rearview.
“100% I’m less stressed going into my senior season as the recruiting process is very stressful,” Dunn said.
The three-star, who is expected to occupy the “Dollar” position in defensive coordinator Mike Tressel’s defense, has been in constant communication with the coaching staff, with safeties coach Colin Hitschler being his primary recruiter.
“[Conversations with the staff] have been good,” Dunn said. “The coaches reach out when they can, they send me good luck messages for my games. They tell me that they are happy I’m part of the team. I was able to make it out to see the home opener, and got to speak to all the coaches then as well. I’m always happy to hear from them.”
For the visit, Dunn earned an invitation from Director of Player Personnel Max Stienecker, with the visit being an amazing experience overall.
“It was Coach Max that invited me and my parents down,” Dunn said. “I think he even checked with my highschool coach to make sure I didn’t have a game. On gameday, I got to do another photo shoot and meet with some of the recruiting staff. After that, we got to go on the field for pre-game. That was amazing.”
“Then we got to sit with the other commits and their families. We also had a BBQ. The food in Wisconsin is crazy.”
Dunn, who was there for the Badgers home opener, could feel the energy of the stadium, only furthering his desire to be on the sidelines.
“We watched Wisconsin go 1-0. The atmosphere is insane. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I can’t wait to be on the field and not in the stands. After the game, I got to speak to coach Fickell, Tress, and Hitch.”
Throughout the recruiting experience, Dunn has developed a personal relationship with coach Hitschler, who has been the primary contact throughout the experience.
“It’s been great since the start,” Dunn said about his relationship with Hitschler. “Coach Hitch actually came to my school to visit his friend who is a teacher at my school. He ended up meeting my coach Napoleon Sykes (coach Poe). Coach called me to his office to meet coach Hitch and my recruitment started right there. We have been talking and messaging ever since. He came down to see me practice in the spring a few times. He has been the coach that I’ve talked to the most.”
The Badgers started off the Luke Fickell era with a solid 2024 class that involved a number of talented defensive backs, and Dunn will be one of the bunch to join the roster next season for Wisconsin.