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Badgers Recruiting

Badgers already ahead of the game in 2019 football recruiting

While everyone is gawking over the just-signed 2018 class, Wisconsin has long been building a quiet but impressive 2019 class.

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Yesterday was the 2018’s time to shine, but today is a new day and for most of the college football world it is already all about the 2019 recruiting class.

But, for the Wisconsin Badgers, it has been all about the 2019 recruiting class since the summer. That is in large part thanks to the Badgers locking down the vast majority of its class by July.

So, while most classes are now firmly focusing on the 2019 class, the Badgers have quietly built some big time national momentum on the recruiting trail.

You may not have noticed, but Wisconsin already has four players committed in the 2019 class. While it started with in-state prospect Leo Chenal (brother of 2018 walk-on John), he was just the beginning of an important class.

One thing has become clear as the Badgers continue to dominate over the rest of the West division — there’s a large gap between the West and East division.

Wisconsin has experienced that the hard way over the last two seasons, losing to Penn State and Ohio State in back-to-back Big Ten championship games.

The one thing that seemed to be missing was an extra game-changing player on either side of the ball.

Against Penn State is was a glaring need to get more out of the wide receiver position and in the defensive secondary. Wisconsin has addressed those needs in a big way in the past year, but more work can and should be done.

This year, against Ohio State, it was clear that there was a large difference in speed and production on the offensive side of the ball. Wisconsin just couldn’t match the breakaway speed of J.K. Dobbins and even the speed of the defensive line.

So, in 2019 the Badgers have hit the ground running to address those needs. Look no further than prying the No. 3 recruit in the state of Michigan from the Wolverines. 4-star offensive tackle Logan Brown committed to the Badgers last month, and was followed up by fellow 4-star offensive tackle Joe Tippmann out of Indiana earlier this month.

Brown currently sits as the No. 76 player in the country and the No. 10 offensive tackle in the country, while Tippmann is the No. 34 tackle and the No. 295 ranked player in the country. Both are fast, big and mean offensive lineman that can add to an impressive core of young offensive linemen already in the fold.

All of that is good, but what may end up being the most impressive name on the list to date is actually 4-star quarterback Graham Mertz out of Kansas.

Mertz is rated as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback and the No. 305 ranked player nationally. One look at his video and you can see perhaps the best arm talent we’ve seen from a Badgers quarterback prospect in years.

While the early names are impressive, there’s a long way to go and with a spring official visit period coming for the first time this spring, it will be interesting to see how the early momentum pans out for UW.

UW has put out 99 total offers in the 2019 class already, with Florida, Ohio and Texas leading the way in terms of offers out.

Getting kids on campus from those three areas in the spring is going to be huge to the effort. The jury is out as to just how many of those offered kids will want to take in the Madison campus in the spring, but if they can get a number of them in to town it could be a really interesting recruiting cycle for Wisconsin.

It certainly has gotten off to a big start.

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Badgers Recruiting

Top 2021 OT commits to Badgers

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With the Wisconsin Badgers 2020 class nearly full to the brim, a lot of attention has been paid to the 2021 class over this summer and it has paid off big time to date.

That hot streak continued on Sunday as one of the nation’s top offensive tackle prospects committed to the Badgers. Lakeville (Minn.) South offensive tackle Ryle Mahlman made his verbal pledge on Twitter a day after witnessing the Badgers win over Michigan.

With the Badgers rushing for over 350 yards as a team, Mahlman witnessed the smash-mouth style of Wisconsin and couldn’t wait to be part of that tradition.

“The atmosphere is always good there,” Mahlman told Badger247. “In a big game, the way they played it, it brought out the best atmosphere. It was insane. It was crazy fun.

“I love how the whole city rallies around the team.”

“They played smash-mouth football,” Mahlman said.

He comes to the Badgers as the No. 27 ranked offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Minnesota. He is also the second tackle in the 2021 class, joining Wisconsin native J.P. Benzschawel, who is also a 4-star prospect and the No. 21 ranked offensive tackle in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Make no mistake about it, getting the best player in the state where head coach P.J. Fleck has been trying to build a wall around is a huge win as well.

Mahlman joins quarterback Deacon Hill as members of this class from outside of the state of Wisconsin.

Overall, Wisconsin has five commits in the 2021 class already and that has resulted in them ranking No. 6 in the country early on in the process.

The Badgers are getting another prototypical big-bodied, but athletic player with a lot of room to grow in to his body and with his overall technique. You can easily see his potential as just a sophomore in the film above.

According to those who have seen Minnesota high school football so far this season, he has begun to feel more comfortable in his bend and continued to show the aggression that is the trademark of Badgers offensive lineman.

You can also see that he wore the No. 86 and often was seen as a blocking tight end, which should tell you all you need to know about how athletic he really can be.

Wisconsin once again continues to hit on priority targets in the 2021 class and it will be interesting to see how things continue to shake out after the biggest recruiting weekend of the season happened.

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Badgers Recruiting

Badgers add sleeper DE to 2020 class

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It is official visit season for college football recruiting once again. All it took was the first of those weekends for the Wisconsin Badgers to add to their 2020 class.

On Monday morning, Cincinnati (Ohio.) Roger Bacon defensive end James Thompson Jr. announced his commitment to the Badgers following his official visit over the weekend.

Wisconsin was the first Power 5 offer for Thompson when they offered back in July and that recognition was very helpful in getting him on campus and eventually to verbally commit.

Navy had also offered Thompson according to his 247Sports profile.

He is the 15th name to verbally commit to the Badgers program and the second defensive end, joining Cade McDonald (Hudson, Wis.) in the mix.

Thompson’s film screams a ton of potential and a good bit of athleticism. Most importantly, he screams one of those under the radar players who the Badgers excel at identifying and getting the most out of once on campus.

At 6-5 and 255 pounds, the frame is there for him to build off of physically.

Wisconsin sits at No. 28 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten in the 2020 recruiting cycle and has 15 total verbal commits.

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Badgers Recruiting

Acker becomes Badgers 2nd 2021 football commit

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It didn’t take long for the Wisconsin Badgers to know that local product Jackson Acker was a kid they wanted. It also didn’t take Acker long to know he wanted to play for the Badgers.

Shortly after earning an offer at camp this weekend, the Verona running back pledged to the Badgers.

In doing so, he became the second commit in the 2021 class and the second in-state product to make his verbal pledge to the Badgers following in the footsteps of JP Benzschawel.

According to Badger247, Acker was timed at 4.63 in the 40-yard dash at camp and comes in at 6-1 and 214 pounds after his sophomore season.

Acker ran for 528 yards and seven touchdowns in his sophomore season as well.

Given UW’s history at running back, this type of an early offer indicates the coaching staff seeing something big time in the player.

You can see that on his film, as he not only uses his speed, but has a big time ability to find creases and get up field quickly when he does find him.

Perhaps the most impressive thing on film is what he does in 1-on-1 situations. Instead of slowing down to try something fancy, Acker just punishes the defender and that is something the Badgers coaching staff loves.

You can see the old-school, bruising back that the Badgers have really missed as of late in him. It could be a nice thunder-and-lightning combination at work here with Acker in the fold.

It also means that the Badgers are likely looking for a pair of running backs in the 2021 class, because they are hard after some of the bigger names as well.

No matter what happens, clearly this coaching staff wasn’t afraid to offer the in-state product and take the chance of having him commit. That’s a strong belief in what they saw in person over limited tape so far to say the least.

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Badgers Recruiting

Badgers add in-state DE to 2020 class

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Sometimes patience and hard work pay off. Such was the case for in-state defensive end Cade McDonald.

After an impressive showing at the Badgers camp this past weekend, the Hudson, Wis. native picked up an offer from the home state team. It took just a few days for McDonald to return the love and announce his commitment to the program.

On Monday, he made things official and became commitment No. 8 in the 2020 class for the Badgers according to Badger247.

Wisconsin was the only FBS offer for McDonald at the time of his commitment. Other schools that were after him included FCS schools like Illinois State, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Badgers now have the No. 24 ranked class in the 2020 recruiting cycle per 247Sports team rankings.

McDonald becomes just the second defensive player to commit in this class as well, joining fellow in-state product Cole Dakovich on that side of the ball.

Overall, McDonald is a 2-star recruit and the No. 98 ranked defensive end in the country per 247Sports rankings.

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