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Badgers Recruiting

Wisconsin Badgers 2018 Football Recruiting: Safety breakdown

Wisconsin has depth and youth at Safety, so how does that play out with the 2018 recruiting class?



With Wisconsin Badgers spring football out of the way and coaches hitting the road on the recruiting trail, it is time for us to also dive in to what is happening with the 2018 recruiting class.

Earlier this week we started by taking a look at the quarterback position, where the Badgers are

So, it would only be right that we start our look at defensive recruiting with the “quarterback” of the defense — safety. The Badgers have a ton of depth and a lot of competition happening, despite loosing starter Leo Musso to graduation.

That means recruiting efforts at the position will be all about finding potential and the best fit possible.

Wisconsin has seemingly hit the jackpot at this position in the last few recruiting cycles, has that continued in to the 2018 class? Let’s take a look.



Reggie Pearson Jr.

Wisconsin got off to a fast start in the 2018 recruiting cycle, and surprisingly enough its first commitment came last August. It also came from an out-of-state product in Reggie Pearson from River Rouge, Mich. (a Detroit suburb).

He isn’t the most heralded of safeties in this class, but has been a solid commitment for the Badgers to build on. Additionally, he brings good size and speed to the position going forward.

Trent Ingalls

This commitment came as a bit of surprise, if only because it came out of nowhere. One visit for a game, an offer and less than two weeks later Ingalls committed. What Pearson brings in physicality and size, Ingalls brings in instincts and ball-hawking ability.

He’s got a really good mental game and nose for the football in coverage. Film on Ingalls shows someone who is fundamentally sound, but likely needs to work on his tackling game at the next level. That will come with more bulk and the finer points of the game from Jim Leonhard. It will be interesting to watch the progression of Ingalls in a Badgers uniform.

Players in the Mix:

DeAndre Square Detroit, Mich. (Cass Tech) 

Much like the quarterback position, Wisconsin is done at safety for the most part. Unless there is someone special or a straight athlete that turns in to a safety in the future, don’t look for the Badgers to add any more safeties in this class.

However, if there is one player UW will fit in at the position it will be three-star safety DeAndre Square from famed Detroit powerhouse Cass Tech. He is listed as “warm” towards the Badgers according to 247Sports and there is certainly mutual interest. Square not only is a quality player (No. 26 safety in the class), but gives UW a foot in the door at one of the most talent-rich high school programs in the country.

At 6-1, 200 pounds, Square also could be that extra in the box safety that UW liked to play with a few years ago. Think Michael Caputo with a bit more athleticism to his game coming out of high school.

Beyond Square, don’t be surprised if the Badgers are done at this position.

State of the Recruiting Board:

We’ve pretty much hinted at this all along, but Wisconsin prioritized this position early on in the recruiting process and got two very different safeties in the fold by the end of October. That was a big surprise considering some of the names that were offered before Ingalls, but we all know head coach Paul Chryst and Co. know this state like the back of their hands.

Given Wisconsin’s depth and youth at the position, the Badgers could afford to go after a few players who are projects and then try to land a bigger fish. All the eggs seem to be in the basket of Square, who is a heavy Michigan State lean at this point.

Wisconsin has had a way of pulling surprises on the recruiting trail and this would be a big win if Square ends up committing to UW over its Big Ten rivals.

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Badgers Recruiting

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.

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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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