Spring camp has been over for a few weeks now and with all the attention on a new national signing day for the 2018 season and beyond, teams like the Wisconsin Badgers are now trying to figure out the plan ahead.
However, they are well in to the 2018 recruiting season and with high school camp and satellite camp season coming up faster than you’d think it is a great time to look at the state of the Badgers 2018 recruiting efforts.
No position gets more attention than the quarterback in every class. It seems like a perfect place to start our series on where the UW recruiting efforts stand for a medium-sized class to come in the 2018 class.
Let’s take a look at where things stand then.
The first quarterback came in the fold for the Badgers early on in the process. With Wisconsin putting him in the priority group along with Artur Sitkowski and Jack Tuttle, Bryant chose to commit on Dec. 7 this past year.
All indications are that Bryant has only continued to grow physically and mentally as a QB since then. He’s currently the No. 25 ranked pro-style quarterback and has a lot of the fundamentals of a pocket passer that can succeed at UW.
Once it became clear that both Sitkowski and Tuttle weren’t going to be Badgers, the next offer out was to Cincinnati St. Xavier quarterback Chase Wolf. He’s got a little something that the other members of the UW quarterback group don’t have — a true ability to make things happen with his legs.
The film is clear in that he can eat defenses with his legs, scoring double-digit touchdowns through the air and with his legs last season while splitting time with a four-star recruit (and Penn State signee) in front of him.
Wolf has things to work on, like his release point and gun-slinger mentality. The latter gets him in trouble as he tries to fit the ball in to tight coverage a bit too much and tends to lock on to a single receiver as well. Given that last season was his first getting real minutes at St. Xavier, this upcoming season will be interesting to watch. Could Wisconsin be getting a steal in its second commit at this position in the class?
Players In the Mix:
Simply put, the Badgers wanted two quarterbacks in the fold for the 2018 class to help fill out the quarterback depth chart. Wisconsin will go in to this season with three scholarship quarterbacks in the fold, unless Malik Zaire decides to transfer to UW. Getting two new players in there on scholarship finally gives the Badgers the depth they will need going forward.
State of the Recruiting Board:
Wisconsin got two of its biggest priority recruits early on and that says a lot about the effort the put in to the position from the get-go. Getting two quarterbacks in the fold before summer camp season has begun? That’s a win in and of itself.
Sure, there were names like Artur Sitkowski and Jack Tuttle that were at the top of the board, but UW targeted Bryant and Wolf as major options and pounced. Bryant’s commitment before Tuttle was ready to do so spoke volumes of what Jon Budmayr and Chryst thought of the young quarterback at the time.
Wolf was the next big target and Wisconsin played this one brilliantly, putting a bit of a squeeze on the situation with Carter Bradley out of Jacksonville, Fla. coming up for a visit during spring camp. Wolf sped up his timeline a bit and became a Badger this past weekend.
Getting QB set this early is a huge win, especially since there needed to be two quarterbacks in the class. Let’s consider this a massive success for the Badgers on the recruiting trail.
The bigger question given UW’s increased efforts at the position over the last few years is just how big a splash this class will make on the field.
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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