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MADISON - With National Signing Day just hours away, Badger Nation is ranking the top ten 2013 commits.
It would be very simple to just look at player's rating and rank accordingly. But I also factored in variables such as: need, hype, and location. With a lot of good players in this class, picking the top ten wasn’t the easiest task.
10, Matt Hubley (Catholic Memorial HS, Waukesha, Wis.)
The Associated Press’ Wisconsin player of the year, Hubley finished the season with 1,671 rushing yards on 226 carries (7.4 average), 21 touchdowns and averaged 128.5 yards per game. Defensively, he led the team with 12 tackles for loss and tied with four forced fumbles, as well as finishing third with 61 tackles. A kid who likes to weight train religiously, Hubley put on 15 pounds before his senior season and the work showed. A true definition of a guy who can play all over the field, Hubley possesses great speed, strength and ability, shows great awareness and has a knack for making plays.
Hubley had scholarship offers from Southeast Missouri, South Dakota and St. Cloud State. He also had a walk-on offer from Boise State on offense.
9, Donnell Vercher (Fresno City College, Clovis, CA)
Gary Andersen and his staff worked tirelessly to find an experienced safety to help fill the void of Wisconsin losing three senior defensive backs following the Rose Bowl. That makes Velcher’s commitment extremely important.
After taking an official visit last weekend, Velcher felt UW was the right fit for him and early playing time. He had eight interceptions last season and will have two seasons of eligibility at UW.
A one-time Fresno State commit, Velcher picked the Badgers Tuesday over other favorite Syracuse. He also received an offer from Oregon State.
8, Sojourn Shelton (Plantation HS, Four Lauderdale, Fla.)
An explosive player, Shelton nicknames himself “Shelton Island” for his ability to play one-on-one with receivers and hold his ground. Like many South Florida cornerbacks, he plays with savvy, confidence and swagger, and isn’t afraid of any matchup. Shelton continues to get bigger, but enrolling in the Badgers’ winter conditioning program and for spring ball will certainly help push the process. He will have to improve going against bigger wide outs that can match his athleticism, but Wisconsin has had a ton of success with Florida cornerbacks in the past.
Shelton – a one-time Florida State commit - picked Wisconsin over other favorites Cincinnati, Nebraska, UCF and Wake Forest.
7, Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield Central HS, Brookfield, Wis.)
Wisconsin needs to be a better pass rushing team off the edge, as Obasih appears more comfortable in a three technique than anywhere else. He likes to play that slant/tackle position, giving the new coaching staff some options with him. His swim move is a deadly weapon at the high school level, so it’ll be important for him to continue to build that along with his bull rush.
Although he’s a little light now, Obasih has the frame to play at 275 pounds and be a disruptive force. He'll be fun to watch develop over the next several years as he gets coached up and learns the nuisances of the position.
Obasih picked Wisconsin over seven offers, including Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi and Vanderbilt.
6, Tanner McEvoy (Arizona Western College, Hillsdale, N.J.)
Losing three seniors at the position after the 2013 season, Wisconsin needs some experience at the position, which McEvoy brings with his ability to compete the next three seasons. Working in an offense with multiple sets and styles, McEvoy is an accurate dual-threat quarterback who completed 67.1 percent of his passes last season.
He was used in a variety of ways to take advantage of his abilities, and his coach went as far to say he is a better athlete and passer than Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (Klein’s name was associated with the Heisman throughout last season). Having played high school football in New Jersey and one year at South Carolina, McEvoy feels his experience and knowledge of offenses is one of his biggest strengths.
McEvoy picked Wisconsin over Florida, Oregon and West Virginia.
5, Garret Dooley (Rochester HS, Rochester, Ill.)
A fast, aggressive player who does not play with much hesitation, Dooley has a nose for the football and has a good ability to weed his way through traffic to make a play. Not only does Dooley make a lot of quality tackles, he performs well dropping into coverage. He can run, hit and shows a good head for the game.
The first commit in the Wisconsin recruiting class, Dooley’s skills were validated by getting a scholarship by Penn State (aka ‘Linebacker U’). Dooley will be a guy that will make a lot of plays for Wisconsin during his career.
Dooley also picked the Badgers over Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Vanderbilt.
4, Jack Keeler (Barrington HS, Barrington, Ill.)
Always vital for Wisconsin to land talented up-and-coming linemen, Keeler fits that bill. Pretty fast for his size and position, Keeler has quick hands and feet and benefited from getting added experience from competing against top players in the Offense-Defense bowl. Like many offensive linemen, it will take him a couple years to develop, but he comes from a good program and continues to add size and strength to his frame.
Keeler picked Wisconsin over 17 other offers, including Miami, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee and West Virginia.
3, Rob Wheelwright (Walnut Ridge HS, Columbus, OH)
Wheelwright is the younger brother of former Minnesota receiver Ernie Wheelwright (2004-'07), and it’s evident that playing the position runs in the family.
Wheelwright has a knack for making plays, and has got even better over the last two years after spending the summer improving his body, his routes and his overall game. His high school coach says Wheelwright reminds him of a young Nick Toon, which is good considering UW needs an impact wide receiver immediately.
Wheelwright picked the Badgers offers from Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Syracuse and West Virginia.
2, Corey Clement (Glassboro HS, Glassboro, N.J.)
It’s always important for Wisconsin to get a talented tailback to carry on the Badgers’ tradition of strong running backs and getting Clement to de-commit from Pittsburgh in the fall was huge. A proto-typical back who is a downhill runner, runs physical and hard between the tackles, Clement is a real talent.
A player who can turn a two-yard gain into a seven-yard gain, Clement has that ability to make people miss at the point of attack and at the line of scrimmage, which is important to minimizing negative plays. He needs to put on some weight, be stronger with the ball and tighter with his running style, but those are all things that can be easily fixed.
Clement picked Wisconsin over 14 BCS offers, including Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.
1, Alec James (Brookfield East HS, Brookfield, Wis.)
James was by far the most important recruit in the class for Wisconsin because of a) his size, speed and agility and b) Gary Andersen’s pledge to keep the best players in the state of Wisconsin. James has outstanding speed for a man his size at his position. Being clocked at a 4.52 40-yard dash in the summer, that track speed for James translates on to the gridiron, as he plays quick, gets off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball and has good footwork.
James will have to put on some weight to build his 225-pound frame and do it the right way to keep his speed. James could be a weakside defensive end or a stand up outside linebacker, as he's athletic enough to drop into coverage and has a good motor to make plays in space.
James picked Wisconsin over eight other offers, including offers from the ACC (Clemson), Big 12 (Iowa State and TCU), Big Ten (Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota) and Notre Dame.