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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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