The Badgers are well ahead of the recruiting curve for what is shaping up to be a star studded 2012 recruiting class that only has a handful of targets remaining on board. The Badgers have eight verbal commitments in a class that sits with approximately five more spots currently.
In this series, Badgernation.com takes a look at the prospects on board, who is out there and who isn't out there. The criteria are the prospect must hold a verbal offer from Wisconsin, must be actively recruited by the Badgers or have an interest in the program.
The Badgers have yet to get a verbal commitment from a receiver or a tight end, but the Badgers got three receivers and two tight ends in last year's class and Eric Steffes coming in this January as a grayshirt, meaning the position is more in an area of want not need. As you will read though, Wisconsin would probably already have one verbal commitment at the position, but are playing it slow.
Who is out there:
Four-star WR Leonte Carroo, 6-2, 200, Don Bosco (NJ) School
Badgernation.com's take: One of the many talented players at Bosco, Carroo finished his junior season with 49 receptions for 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns. Carroo picked up around a dozen offers and on Aug. 6, Carroo will announce between Boston College, California, Rutgers and Wisconsin. Carroo has reportedly visited Wisconsin, but lives down the street from Rutgers and visits the campus frequently. His mother and grandmother, both influential in the process, want him at Rutgers, and that usually means that's where he's going.
Four-star WR Amara Darboh, 6-2, 200, West Des Moines (IA) High
Badgernation.com's take: Arguably the top receiver on Wisconsin's board, Darboh has been getting the full press from secondary coach Chris Ash and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander. With UW wanting big receivers, Darboh fits that billing, recording nearly 50 catches in 2010, racking up 648 yards and six touchdowns. Darboh said Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin are recruiting him the hardest and that he's taken it easy this summer. Darboh will probably decide in the fall.
Three-star WR Ian Thomas, 6-1, 187, Franklin (MD) High
Badgernation.com's take: Wisconsin continues to dabble in the East Coast but it's clear from interviews that Thomas isn't interested in Wisconsin. Thomas visited Rutgers twice in the spring and also likes Iowa, Maryland, Notre Dame and Stanford. After a strong 7-on-7 performance at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights kept recruiting him hard. It could come down to Rutgers and Notre Dame, but the Terps could be one to watch.
Three-star WR Gehrig Dieter, 6-3, 210, Washington (Ind) High
Badgernation.com's take: This was the verbal commit I was alluding to in the opener. Dieter was one of the top players at Wisconsin's high school summer camp, prompting UW coach Bret Bielema to say he would offer him. Whether he was talked out of that decision or had second thoughts is unclear, but what is certain is the coaching staff has told Dieter that t they were going to wait until the beginning of fall to see how other receiver's decisions played out before offering. Mistake? Well, in the last two seasons, Gehrig has 108 catches for 26 touchdowns, not to mention that he broke conference records for receptions (60), receiving yards (1,167) and TD catches (15) as a sophomore. He also is just back from camps at Auburn and Tennessee where he reportedly outperformed the competition again. Dieter is the kind of kid UW typically has had success with in the past, making the delay all that more puzzling.
WR Shakim Alonzo, 6-5, 200, Woodland Hills (PA) High
Badgernation.com's take: Offered by Wisconsin at the end of May, Alonzo has had Coach Joe Rudolph in his school a few times and has been impressed with the success of the school. Alonzo has nine offers but said that his top five, in order, are Wisconsin, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Purdue. Alonzo is going to take all five of his visits before making a decision, and it's almost a guarantee that he'll be at a Wisconsin game this fall.
WR Jeremy Glinton, 6-1, 175, Northeast (FL) High
Badgernation.com's take: A teammate of current Badgers defensive end David Gilbert, Glinton is a lot like Alonzo in the sense that a UW assistant saw him workout (Charlie Partridge) and liked him so much that he returned to Madison to fight for an offer for the prospect. Glinton is a smart player (3.5 GPA) that can play both sides of the field. Glinton said his top three are Wisconsin, Florida, Mississippi State, but it appears Florida, his favorite school since he was young, is way out in front.
WR Kolby Gray, 6-0, 180, Fort Lauderdale (FL) High
Badgernation.com's take: Gray had roughly 700 rushing yards and five TDs last season, but the Flying L's went 0-10. Still, his highlight tape circling the Internet has generating him some publicity as he's picked up seven scholarship offers with UW, Kentucky and Indiana being his biggest ones. He hasn't visited many campuses, so it's hard to know where he stands, but Gray does talk positively about his relationship with the Badgers.
Three-star TE Orlando David, 6-3, 210, Chaminade Madonna (FL) Prep
Badgernation.com's take: David is coming off a knee injury, but he could see his stock rise greatly if he performs well in the first few games of the season. He knows there are few schools in the country that can stack up to the tight end alumni Wisconsin can boast or an offense that features the tight ends more than the Badgers. Question is if the Badgers don't get David, will they offer another tight end? Probably not, considering the Badgers are getting Eric Steffes in January. David doesn't plan on making a decision until midway through the season.
Who isn't out there:
In terms of wide receivers, the Badgers have offered plenty of prospects from coast to coast and a lot of them have narrowed their list without the Badgers on it. Four-star receivers Darron Neal (Oklahoma), Eugene Lewis (not top four) and Frank Epitropolous (Ohio State) all had varying degrees of interest in the Badgers (Epitropolous even visited Madison) but all found their niche somewhere else.
The toughest loss thus far for Wisconsin was tight end Colin Thompson picking Florida over the Badgers. Thompson – a four-star tight end rated No.3 in the country – was really high on Wisconsin after he visited Madison for a spring football practice, so much so that he was actually favoring UW upon returning home. Unfortunately for UW fans, he went to Florida a few days later, a visit that reaffirmed his decision to play in Gainesville.