Recruiting high school kids to play college athletics can be a strange journey. However, that rule usually doesn’t apply to the University of Wisconsin. It’s one of the more boring programs when it comes to the recruiting process.
That’s exactly how head coach Paul Chryst likes it, and it is how it has been playing out in the 2018 recruiting cycle to date.
That all changed on Friday afternoon though, as long-time quarterback commit Ben Bryant announced he was re-opening his recruitment. According to a report by Illini247, Bryant and the Badgers parted ways over a tweet about an offer from the University of Georgia.
Bryant indicated that things went South in his recruitment following his tweet.
“After I posted the news about Georgia they made it clear there wasn’t a spot for me anymore,” said Bryant.
““I was 100% committed to Wisconsin for the past five months. I always saw myself signing with them in December.”
Bryant refused to elaborate beyond the interview he gave to Gus Ramos of Illini247.
See article below. No interviews https://t.co/wmTzQdX7E7
— Ben Bryant (@benbryant_6) May 12, 2017
Naturally it is hard to know exactly what went on exactly, but we have a few years of track record with head coach Paul Chryst and Co. and for things to go this sour there has to be something bigger than a tweet at hand.
Sure, a tweet criticizing UW’s offense and in particular a quarterback by running back commit Antonio Williams led to his no longer being welcome in the Badgers program. That is an extreme and wholly warranted example of Twitter causing an offer to be pulled.
The suggestion here is that UW’s staff is so petty as to believe the hint of another offer is the end of a commitment. It simply doesn’t hold water against the body of evidence, and Bryant points that out on his own.
According to the Illini247 article:
Bryant was stunned by the news because he has seen other recruits post offers while being committed to other programs.
There’s little history of UW demanding undying loyalty on the recruiting trail. It does expect a player who is committed to stay that way (as any program would), mainly because Chryst and Co. emphasize a player playing out the process until they are 100 percent ready to make a commitment. There’s little in the way of intense pressure unless there are multiple offers out there on the verge of committing.
So, it is interesting that it would happen in this situation. Of course, it could well be that UW was turned off by the fact that Bryant seemed to indicate he was open to what Georgia had to offer and decided to move on.
Could it be that Bryant isn’t letting on as to the level of communication with Georgia and the offer he received? After all, how did the Dawgs receive his film and have his contact information if he wasn’t in communication with scholarship services or the staff at Georgia in the first place?
We will only really ever know one side of the story as the Badgers coaching staff are barred from talking about recruits that have not signed a national letter of intent.
One thing is clear no mater what went down — communication between the UW coaching staff and Bryant had severely broken down in the past few months. Whether Bryant’s claim of a tweet being the issue or something else was at work, the Badgers staff saw enough to move on from Bryant and his recruitment.
Does it suck for a player who “wanted” to be at Wisconsin in December? Bryant is saying all the right things in his one media interview, suggesting it does indeed suck. But, just as players often move on from commitments, programs also continue evaluations and could choose to move on as well.
That is the harsh nature of the recruiting process.
UW may have a quick answer to Bryant’s departure from the 2018 class though, as Jacksonville, Fla. quarterback Carter Bradley was in the mix for the second spot and could easily step in to the class should he still want the spot.
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.
In-state 2020 WR picks Badgers
Just a month after the Wisconsin Badgers got the 2019 football class signed, they got their fifth verbal pledge to their 2020 class.
Following an offer at junior day on Saturday, Waukesha (Wis.) West wide receiver Chimere Dike jumped at the chance to follow the team he’s been a fan of all of his life.
Getting this commitment gives UW five players in the mix, but also their first non-offensive lineman commit in the class.
Wisconsin is getting a player they found early in his football playing days and only competed with Iowa State for a scholarship offer to date.
This past season Dike caught 79 passes for 1,091 yards and 12 touchdowns. At 6-1, 170 pounds, Dike gives UW a nice frame to work with and his production says there is potential here.
It has led to him being rated a 3-star prospect by 247sports and the No. 6 ranked player in the state. He’s also the No. 99 ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class.
Wisconsin had him near the top of their board and getting him to verbally commit this quickly has to make the coaching staff very happy.
It also means the Badgers continue to keep a very high national ranking for this class. Wisconsin is ranked No. 10 in the country and No. 2 in the Big Ten right now. They also have a crazy .890 average player rating for the class so far.
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