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.
Badgers add sleeper DE to 2020 class
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.
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.
Acker becomes Badgers 2nd 2021 football commit
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.
Badgers add in-state DE to 2020 class
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.
Badgers get commitment from 2020 OLB Cole Dakovich
The 209 football recruiting cycle hasn’t technically ended and already things are heating up quickly for the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers recruiting class.
A day after accepting a verbal pledge from in-state wide receiver Chimere Dike, the Badgers now have their 6th member of the 2020 class with Waukesha (Wis.) Catholic outside linebacker Cole Dakovich announcing his pledge on Twitter on Friday morning.
This was another quick recruiting life cycle, as UW offered on Saturday during their first junior day and Dakovich jumped on the offer a week later.
He is another under the radar recruit, with the Badgers offer being his only to date. However, that is more likely because Dakovich has played only one year of football since the 7th grade and it was a productive year at that.
In his first year back to playing football, Dakovich racked up 105 tackles, 18 for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. He also had 16 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball.
Wisconsin has a long and storied history of identifying these types of prospects and having them turn out well over their time in Madison.
He is not ranked by any of the scouting services out there, that’s how little football he has played to date.
The Badgers are now 11th nationally in the 2020 team recruiting rankings after some movement around the country yesterday.
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