Believe it or not, national signing day is jus a day away for future Wisconsin Badgers.
For many kids it is the time they finally get to do what they’ve wanted to do for months, if not years. Yes, they’ll officially be able to call themselves Wisconsin Badgers.
Fax machines are being dusted off and the vast majority of UW’s 2019 class will be in the fold on Wednesday. With that in mind, let’s continue our breakdown of each position group.
Up today is a look at a position that saw a lot of youth last season — cornerback.
UW Needs: 3
UW Commits: 3
Expected to Sign Early: Semar Melvin, Dean Engram, James Williams
One of the most impressive parts to UW’s recruiting efforts in 2019 and in general since the arrival of Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard has been the Badgers ability to recruit well at the cornerback position.
That was on full display with the youth that made it on the field in 2018, but just take a look at this class and where they are from. Wisconsin was able to land players from three of the biggest name programs on the East Coast in St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaminade-Madonna Prep and Gonzaga.
UW has two cornerbacks in the top 100 at the position and the third comes in at No. 115. You have to like the potential those numbers suggest.
Biggest Get: Semar Melvin
Any time you get a player out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, you’ve done something right. Previous classes at Wisconsin have paved the path to a good relationship at the school and Melvin was easily the Badgers biggest realistic target and they were able to get him committed early in the process.
UW beat out the likes of Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, Mississippi State and a host of others who made offers.
His size (6-1) and athleticism are very attractive for a position group that is a bit smaller in stature as well. If there’s an immediate impact player in this trio, Melvin appears ready to be that player as long as he can put on some good weight in the coming months.
Biggest Miss: None
This is another position that the Badgers hit on the offers they realistically were in the game for. Once UW got hot with Melvin, Engram and Williams, other names became de-prioritized and pulling a name like Engram away from Penn State was as huge as they come considering the head-to-head losses suffered in the past on the recruiting trail.
You may say a name like Jalen Alexander or Warren Burrell would’ve been nice, but after the Badgers offered things never really heated up between the two sides. We’ll have to track to see if either become a major name.
Biggest Target Still Out There: None
Like almost all positions, the Badgers appear done here heading in to 2019’s first and secondary signing periods. Unless something crazy happens, this position group appears to be on lockdown.
What to Expect From This Class: Competition
Yes, Wisconsin returns a ton of talent and a lot of players who at least saw the field in 2018. But, don’t expect this coaching staff to let experience win out over talent when things play out on the field come spring and fall camps.
No player was consistent enough last season to have just automatically earned a spot in the rotation in 2019. So, look for the likes of Melvin, Engram and Williams to get a crack at making an early impact.
I love what this group brings to the table and the more competitive practices are the better off this young secondary is going to be going forward. It will also be nice to know they don’t have to produce right away and can be impactful with slow growth instead of having to be thrown out there out of necessity.
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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