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Badgers Recruiting

Wisconsin Badgers 2018 Football Recruiting: Inside Linebacker breakdown

Inside linebacker is stacked for the Badgers in 2017, but what does the future hold for the position on the 2018 recruiting trail?



Summer is here and that means the recruiting trail is heating up big time. With the Wisconsin Badgers already halfway to a likely 18-man class, this summer is likely to turn in to turning up the heat on prospects at the top of the board and moving forward with evaluations and new offers.

We’ve seen some of that already, with the Badgers messy “divorce” with three-star quarterback Ben Bryant this past Friday. There have also been a bevy of new offers across the board for UW.

Previous Positions: Quarterback | Safety | Running Back |

One position that the Badgers have nailed on the recruiting trail in the previous few cycles has been inside linebacker. It may well be the deepest position on the team in 2017, but we’re talking about the future and Baby Badgers here, not the team that will take the field this upcoming season.

Can UW continue its hot streak recruiting inside linebackers? Do they already have a player or two in the fold? Let’s take a look at the position as it stands heading in to the heat of the summer.


Jack Sanborn

It feels only natural that Wisconsin’s top recruit and the only 247Sports four-star player in the fold would come at inside linebacker. Sanborn is a gifted athlete and one of the most instinctual players at his position I’ve seen in a long while. It doesn’t hurt that he is also a hard hitter at just 210 pounds.

The good news for Sanborn is that he can let his body develop at the next level and work his way up the depth chart with little pressure to perform early. However, don’t be surprised to see him working in to the mix sooner rather than later even with the depth the Badgers have.

CJ Goetz

Goetz is the classic type of player that Chryst and Co. love to recruit in-state. He wasn’t getting a ton of national attention or regional attention for that matter, but that was likely because the Badgers were on him early and often. He also displays the fundamentals, mental game and overachieving physicality that hallmark in-state players. While he isn’t likely to be needed right away, don’t be surprised to see Goetz making an impact at this position in the future.

Recruiting Priorities:

It wouldn’t make sense for Wisconsin to stock up on any more inside linebackers, but there are a few offers still out there that could add to this class. Wisconsin may take one more, but it would be more about filling out the class than filling a need if you will.

Getting one of the most talented players in the state of Wisconsin along with a top-line recruit at the position should be more than sufficient for this class. However, the Badgers haven’t stopped offers at the position and just extended a new offer to a unheralded recruit out of Virginia.

Ricky Miezan is the name, but despite the unknown nature of his name, there are offers from some big schools out there. He has offers from the likes of Indiana, Michigan State, Syracuse and Virginia amongst others. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of the offer.

State of Recruiting:

Wisconsin’s state of recruiting at inside linebacker couldn’t possibly be stronger. For all the misses of the Gray Andersen era, linebacker certainly wasn’t that area. Potential starting inside linebackers T.J. Edwards and Chris Orr were amongst the big finds of Andersen’s recruiting classes.

It is clear that recruiting at this position is at its highest level we’ve ever seen it. Adding the caliber of players that Sanborn and Goetz are is further proof of that. It is one thing to add a few good players in a class or two, but the Badgers have hit recruiting at this position out of the park since the 2012 recruiting class and that is more than a coincidence.

With some of the talent leaving the program in the next year or two, keeping the recruiting at a high level is very important. It seems that Chryst and Co. know that and aren’t afraid to go after the top of the board talent on a yearly basis at inside linebacker.

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Badgers Recruiting

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.

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



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



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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Badgers Recruiting

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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