As we come towards the end of February, recruiting for the 2018 class is in full swing. It has been a big month for the Wisconsin Badgers and the 2018 class, with six members of the 2018 signing class verbally committing to UW.
With that in mind, what will the class look like? We’re getting a much better picture across the board as offers go out and recruitments are prioritized for what should be a small class once again at Wisconsin.
Given the 2017 class was largely put together early on in the process as well, the process for 2018 has been accelerated already. Who are the Badgers looking at and what kind of numbers will make up this class?
Let’s start with a look at the quarterback position.
In the fold:
Ben Bryant (La Grange, IL)
It is a bit unusual for the Badgers to have their quarterback in the fold this quickly. However, it appeared that Wisconsin’s idea in putting pressure on the quarterback position worked wonders.
Bryant, the No. 22 ranked pro-style quarterback in the country committed to the Badgers just after the Big Ten championship game and has gone to work helping to put together the rest of the 2018 class.
The 6-3, 190-pound quarterback has some good film and plenty of upside to him.
What stands out immediately is his feel for the game. He seems to know where pressure is coming from, where to step up and when to stand in and take a hit. He also doesn’t make bad decisions with the football under pressure. Sure, there are tight windows he throws in to at times, but it is always to an area where it is either his receiver or no one getting the ball.
Bryant showcases good footwork and ability to feel the game, which are good starting points for a college quarterback. It certainly will give the Badgers an interesting quarterback room after nearly being bare at the position the last few years.
Still in the Mix:
Wisconsin has put out five total offers to pro-style quarterbacks in this class, and three of those players are still in the mix..in theory. The reality is that it appears 4-star IMG Academy quarterback Artur Sitkowski is heading to Miami (FL), especially after the addition of Bryant back in December.
The other two names that have been offered by the Badgers as pro-style quarterbacks are 3-star’s Chase Wolf and Carter Bradley. If anyone else is going to jump on board in this class, Wolf appears to be the more likely of the group, but given the fact that Wisconsin will have five scholarship quarterbacks in the fold (including Bryant) for 2018 it just doesn’t seem likely unless something dramatic happens at the position.
National Signing Day Outlook:
Many believed the Badgers would find a way to get two quarterbacks in the 2018 class. That changed on national signing day this year, as UW upped the preferred walk-on offer of Danny Vanden Boom to a full offer. It meant two quarterbacks in the 2017 class and no need to go after more than one in the 2018 class.
However, could Wisconsin add to Bryant’s commitment anyway? The only way that happens in my view is if a player like Sitkowski makes a drastic move away from Miami (FL) and UW pulls a major upset.
Don’t be surprised to see Bryant as the only signal caller faxing in a national letter of intent on the first Wednesday in February (or sooner if NCAA legislation takes hold this spring).
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.
Badgers get commitment from 2020 OLB Cole Dakovich
The 209 football recruiting cycle hasn’t technically ended and already things are heating up quickly for the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers recruiting class.
A day after accepting a verbal pledge from in-state wide receiver Chimere Dike, the Badgers now have their 6th member of the 2020 class with Waukesha (Wis.) Catholic outside linebacker Cole Dakovich announcing his pledge on Twitter on Friday morning.
This was another quick recruiting life cycle, as UW offered on Saturday during their first junior day and Dakovich jumped on the offer a week later.
He is another under the radar recruit, with the Badgers offer being his only to date. However, that is more likely because Dakovich has played only one year of football since the 7th grade and it was a productive year at that.
In his first year back to playing football, Dakovich racked up 105 tackles, 18 for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. He also had 16 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball.
Wisconsin has a long and storied history of identifying these types of prospects and having them turn out well over their time in Madison.
He is not ranked by any of the scouting services out there, that’s how little football he has played to date.
The Badgers are now 11th nationally in the 2020 team recruiting rankings after some movement around the country yesterday.
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