LSU sits on a hotbed of talent in Louisiana, one of the nation's best states when it comes to football. The Tigers capitalize on that for a strong foundation in each class, then spread nationally reeling in top talent from all over the country.
Wisconsin doesn't have the luxury of sitting on a wealth of talent in its state. For that reason, Wisconsin has made sure to spread south in search of recruits, particularly the state of Florida where they've done well to add athletes at the skill positions and in the secondary.
As we get closer to the start of the season, we're breaking down the contest between LSU and Wisconsin from every angle. In this piece, we'll compare the two program's prowess on the recruiting front.
For the purpose of this article, we've listed the projected starters (and some notable backups) according to the most recent depth charts released by each school. We've used the final rankings Scout assigned for each prospect when they signed out of high school, and junior college transfers are noted as such. We've also noted any players that were ranked at a position different from where they're currently listed.
So without any further ado, here's how each team's projected starters compare according to their recruit rankings:
Tanner McEvoy | Three-star (JUCO)
Joel Stave | Two-star | No. 111
Anthony Jennings | Four-star | No. 28
Brandon Harris | Four-star | No. 6
LSU holds a significant advantage when comparing the evaluations out of high school. Wisconsin's expected starter, McEvoy, was the nation's No. 48 quarterback when he signed with South Carolina out of high school. He retained a three-star rating as a junior college transfer. But these rankings certainly don't factor in experience, where the Badgers' QBs do have an advantage.
Melvin Gordon | Three-star | No. 38
Corey Clement | Four-star | No. 31
Kenny Hilliard | Four-star | No. 25
Terrence Magee | Three-star | No. 44
The recruiting resumes compare favorably for at running back for these two teams. Gordon's a homegrown talent for the Badgers that's developed into an NFL talent, and Clement came out of New Jersey with even more accolades. Sticking with the depth chart though left Leonard Fournette off this list, and his five-star ranking as the No. 1 overall recruit would certainly push the advantage to LSU.
Derek Watt | Three-star | No. 109 (OLB)
Connor Neighbors | Not Ranked
Alex Erickson | Not ranked
Kenzel Doe | Three-star | No. 182
Reggie Love | Three-star | No. 174
Travin Dural | Three-star | No. 99
John Diarse | Four-star | No. 14 (S)
Quantavius Leslie | Four-star (JUCO)
This is where you see Wisconsin spreading south for athletes. While Erickson's a former walk-on, Doe and Love come from North Carolina and Florida, respectively, showing how the Badgers dip into more talented states to reel in prospects not heavily recruited by the nearby programs. LSU also has some highly regarded former recruits lower on the depth chart in Malachi Dupre (five-star) and Trey Quinn (four-star) expecting to see significant playing time.
Sam Arneson | Three-star | No. 34
Austin Traylor | Three-star | No. 90
Dillon Gordon | Three-star | No. 15
Desean Smith | Four-star | No. 9
Tyler Marz | Two-star | No position ranking
Dallas Lewallen | No star rating | No. 105
Dan Voltz | Four-star | No. 4 (OG)
Kyle Costigan | No star rating | No. 124 (DT)
Rob Havenstein | No star rating | No. 42
La’El Collins | Five-star | No. 2
Vadal Alexander | Four-star | No. 11
Ethan Pocic | Four-star | No. 4 (OT)
Hoko Fanaika | Two-star (JUCO)
Jerald Hawkins | Three-star | No. 38
It may be surprising to see such low recruit rankings for Wisconsin's offensive line. There are some higher star ratings lower on the depth chart, but the Badgers have significant experience in the starting lineup with three seniors and a junior to go with the four-star sophomore. It's also a credit to Wisconsin's development to turn these under-the-radar high school prospects into potential NFL talent.
Chikwe Obasih | Three-star | No. 45
Konrad Zagzebski | No star rating | No. 51
Danielle Hunter | Four-star | No. 15
Jermauria Rasco | Five-star | No. 8
Warren Herring | No star rating | No. 41 (TE)
Arthur Goldberg | Three-star | No. 54
Christian Lacouture | Four-star | No. 14 (DE)
Frank Herron | Four-star | No. 5 (DE)
Quentin Thomas | Three-star | No. 35
Marcus Trotter | No star rating | No. 151
Derek Landisch | Three-star | No. 101 (OLB)
D.J. Welter | No star rating | No. 87 (OLB)
Kendell Beckwith | Four-star | No. 15 (DE)
Joe Schobert – Not Ranked
Vince Biegel | Four-star | No. 23
Lamar Louis | Three-star | No. 36
Kwon Alexander | Four-star | No. 3
The defensive front is where Wisconsin has had major turnover from last season. The Badgers lost a lot of players to graduation, and the next batch of defenders only has one four-star in the bunch. They make up for that lack of natural athleticism by using a variety of looks out of that 3-4 scheme, getting in the heads of that offensive line.
Sojourn Shelton | Three-star | No. 82
Darius Hillary | Three-star | No. 81
Tre’Davious White | Four-star | No. 6
Rashard Robinson | Three-star | No. 31
Lubern Figaro | Three-star | No. 44 (CB)
Michael Caputo | Three-star | No. 42 (OLB)
Ronald Martin | Three-star | No. 45
Jalen Mills | Three-star | No. 34 (CB)
Figaro went viral Wednesday by disregarding the notion that B1G players don't have that "SEC speed." At least in the recruiting rankings, it shows that Wisconsin's corners weren't as highly regarded out of high school. The safeties compare favorably for Wisconsin, but LSU certainly reeled in better rated talent in its recruiting classes.