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Badgers an early riser for 2026 DE

The Badgers are one of the schools showing early interest in a 2026 defensive end.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the early risers in the recruitment of 2026 defensive end Dominic Funke, who recently visited campus for the Nebraska game.

Making his first trip back since earning an offer earlier in the year, Funke came away impressed by the game-time environment in Madison.

“I’ve always known Wisconsin to have a loyal and passionate fan base, but seeing it in person was something different,” Funke shared to Bucky’s 5th Quarter. The players, coaches and fans were all so invested in and pumped for the game and the energy was unreal. My expectations were definitely exceeded and I really enjoyed my visit.”

Funke, a 6’3, 215-pound edge rusher, attends school in Needham, Massachusetts, and has earned five offers thus far.

The highlight of his visit, however, was re-connecting with defensive line coach Greg Scruggs and outside linebackers coach Matt Mitchell.

“This trip was great because I got to spend a lot of time with the coaches before the game,” Funke said. “I enjoyed getting to know Coach Scruggs and Coach Mitchell better. The staff made me feel right at home and they all got me fired up about what is being built at Wisconsin.”

In those conversations, the coaches have told Funke about what type of role he’d play at Wisconsin, which seems to primarily be as an edge rusher, depending on how he builds into his frame.

“Their message to me was that I am a Wisconsin-type player,” Funke said. “They said that I’d fit well into their scheme and bring pressure off the edge. They seem excited about the role I could play on the team in the future. They also complimented my long-arm pass-rush technique.”

“They envision me playing on the outside. They told me that they like my speed and first step and that I have the skill set of an edge rusher.”

In addition to visiting Wisconsin this fall, Funke went down to Vanderbilt for their home opener in August, Rutgers for their game against Ohio State, and Boston College and Duke during the first weekend of December.

Wisconsin is one of the early standouts on Funke’s list, but the 2026 recruit has been talking with a ton of programs, including Rutgers, Boston College, Pitt, and Temple, which are his other offers.

Funke is planning to make a visit in the spring or the summer to Wisconsin once more.