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.
Top 2021 OT commits to Badgers
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.
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.
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