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Badgers Recruiting

Wisconsin Badgers 2019 Football Recruiting: an early cornerback breakdown

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With 2017 in the rearview mirror and the 2018 Wisconsin Badgers recruiting class already signed, sealed and mostly delivered, it is truly an offseason to look forward to what is ahead.

That’s especially true on the recruiting trail, where the Badgers are way ahead of their normal curve. UW already has four commits to the 2019 class and there is a ton of buzz around the potential for this class to be special.

Previous looks: Running Back |

Wisconsin also likely needs to make this class count because it won’t be a big one, with around 14-16 players likely to be in the class in total. UW currently has 75 players on the 2019 scholarship list as it would sit today.

As we transition to looking ahead, we’ll take a look at each position as it stands on the recruiting trail. After looking in to the offensive backfield last time around, we’ll start our defensive look in the backfield as well with a look at cornerback recruiting.

Commit(s):

None – Wisconsin has four players signed for the 2019 class, but none at cornerback just yet.

Recruiting Priorities:

As of this writing, the Badgers have thrown out 14 offers at the cornerback position and by my count should be in place to add just two players to the mix in the 2019 class. Wisconsin will roll in to the 2019 season having not graduated a single scholarship cornerback and they added three of them in the 2018 class alone. Look for the Badgers to try to even things out in terms of numbers with just a couple of commits at this position in 2019.

So, what names should be in the mix? Right now that is a hard question to answer, as cornerback is a notoriously slow position in terms of commits and process. However, the Badgers could have an inside track on a few names due to great relationships. That includes Jalen Alexander (Loganville, Ga.) Wynston Russell (Flossmoor, Ill.) and Mike Sainristil (Everett, Mass.).

All three are from schools that Wisconsin has had long-standing relationships with and all three schools have Badgers players or recent graduates amongst their ranks. Alexander has been a name to watch as the Badgers landed his opposite number in Donte Burton in the 2018 class, while Russell was a former teammate of current Badgers wide receiver Kendric Pryor and Sainristil is from the same school that produced backup cornerback Lubern Figaro.

Can those relationships help the Badgers win what could be interesting recruiting battles? These are the names that I would focus the most attention on as realistic options.

State of Recruiting:

If ever there was a way to test just how good a talent evaluator Jim Leonhard is as a coach, the 2018 season is just that. Wisconsin will replace both starting cornerbacks and have just one returning player with any real experience in the mix, and that is nickel back Donyte Carriere-Williams.

The good news is the Badgers have hit on two of the better cornerbacks in the 2018 class in Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas) and Donte Burton (Loganville, Ga.) are both top 60 cornerbacks according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

One trend you have seen with the Badgers since Chryst came aboard is the emphasis on bigger cornerbacks in the program. Wisconsin has struggled to land them, but that hasn’t been for a lack of trying. In the 2019 class a full seven of the 14 offers already handed out are to players 6-foot or taller. Perhaps no player intrigues me more that Bobby Wolfe does, as his height (6-3) and film indicate a player who can be a difference maker in a conference that is seeing the passing game take priority as of late. However, landing the 3-star product is going to be tough as schools like LSU, Oregon and Texas A&M are in the mix here (A&M has yet to offer).

More than the past, this recruiting class will test the ability of Leonhard as a recruiter. Wisconsin has to be picky at this position in this class and his eye for talent will mean a lot. Luckily, the Badgers have had some really good cornerback play in the past few years and it’s helped open up some recruitments that may not have been their before.

Overall, it appears the Badgers are trending up in terms of the pure talent that will take a look at them, and that changes the game in a big way.

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Badgers Recruiting

Top 2021 OT commits to Badgers

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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

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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

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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

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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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