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 or must be actively recruited and have an interest in the Badgers.
Four-star OG Dan Voltz, 6-4, 290, Barrington (Ill.) High
Badgernation.com's take: A tough, powerful lineman who blocks to the whistle and finishes his blocks, Dan Voltz got the 2012 recruiting class off to a huge start with his commitment in March. It was a huge pickup, not because Voltz is a talented prospect with good footwork, execution and coordination, but because he picked Wisconsin over Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and a host of others. Voltz loved the fact that UW developed linemen, had a great atmosphere and was close to home. It was a huge pick-up.
Four-star OT Kyle Dodson, 6-6, 310, Cleveland Heights (OH) High
Badgernation.com's take: Like the Voltz pickup, this was a huge pickup for Wisconsin, especially since Ohio State had offered Dodson and was thought to be his favorite from the beginning. Dodson originally wasn't going to make any decisions until he could take some official visits, but that choice became moot the more he studied Wisconsin. Realizing that it takes a special talent to play for Wisconsin's big bulldozing group and a school that glorifies the offensive line so much that it had three linemen selected into the NFL Draft last April, Dodson knew that any other offer failed to compare to what Wisconsin had to offer. While a little raw, Dodson has only scratched the surface of his talent so far, and plays with a nasty streak on the field.
Who is out there:
Five-star OT Jordan Diamond, 6-6, 290, Simeon Vocational (Ill) High
Badgernation.com's take: The thought process is that the decision for Diamond is going to come down to Michigan or Wisconsin, which is good news for Badgers fans with Michigan filling up fast with linemen. Diamond is a talent, which shows by his ability to start on the varsity level since freshman year. A balanced athlete that can do everything a lineman needs to do well, Diamond said he won't decide until after his season, possibly not until signing day, and you can be assured that Wisconsin will wait.
Four-star OT Jonah Pirsig, 6-9, 290, Blue Earth (MN) High
Badgernation.com's take: The top prospect in the state of Minnesota, Jonah Pirsig has been on the Wisconsin radar for over a year, and has developed a good talking relationship with offensive line coach Bob Bostad. Pirsig is a Midwest-type football player, a main reason why eight of his 10 offers came from the Midwest. Pirsig announced his top three earlier this month as Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin and could announce any day. It is believed, however, that Wisconsin won't be his final choice.
Three-star OT Kwayde Miller, 6-8, 280, Ramona (CA) High
Badgernation.com's take: Wisconsin was Miller's first BCS offer, an offer that surprised him and those that follow UW's recruiting. The Badgers have rarely recruited California under UW coach Bret Bielema, but Miller's film impressed Bostad and there was little hesitation to offer. Miller has been impressed by his research on Wisconsin, a main reason he is coming out for an unofficial visit and has the Badgers in his top two along with Oregon.
Three-star OT Walker Williams, 6-7, 330, Tacoma Baptist (WA) High
Badgernation.com's take: Wisconsin was one of Williams' first offers, extending a scholarship to him in the beginning of April, and has already visited the Badgers; a trip that came for Wisconsin's spring game at the end of April. Now Williams has planned two return visits to Madison, including official visit for the Nebraska game on Oct.1. Right now, Williams says Wisconsin and in-state Washington are recruiting him the hardest, although he is also looking closely at Colorado and UCLA. Wisconsin appears to be the early leader at this point.
Three-star OG Abraham Garcia, 6-6, 340, University (Fla) School
Badgernation.com's take: Although he has yet to receive an offer, Garcia's interest in Wisconsin remains high, who has recruiting him the most along with Auburn and LSU. An aggressive player that is a quick learner, Garcia and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge talk weekly and it seems Garcia would be next in line for an offer along with …
Three-star OG Adam Pankey, 6-5, 300, Hamilton (OH) High
Badgernation.com's take: Pankey camped at Wisconsin and Ohio State this summer, and said he made a favorable impression at both camps. Pankey said Joe Rudolph has been talking to him, saying how physical he was at UW's camp, and that they have a good relationship. Pankey boasts no favorites, and plans to take his time with his decision, mainly to see what happens with Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Two-star OG Danny Isadora, 6-4, 310, Cypress Bay (Fla.) High
Badgernation.com's take: Isadora is one of the few linemen on Wisconsin's board who has kept his recruitment close to the chest, as not many people know where he stands with his time table. He did announce that Wisconsin was in his top five, but little else is known about him other than he's got competing offers from Miami and Michigan.
Who isn't out there:
Just like their recruiting Williams and Miller, the Badgers adventures into the Pacific Northwest led them to Zach Banner, an incredibly talented five-star recruit from Lakewood, WA. Unlike Williams and Miller, Banner never had the same interested in Wisconsin. UW did recruit him but Banner made his top 10 list without Wisconsin on it. The same situation goes for Taylor Decker (Notre Dame commit), Ben Braden (Michigan), Chris Muller (Rutgers), Greg Pyke (not top five) and Mike Madaras (Maryland).
The biggest surprise/shock came from Pennsbury (PA) High's J.J. Denman. Denman came to Wisconsin for the Badgers' spring game and came away raving about their style of offense, their coaches, their strength staff and the city, so much so that it was believed by those closest to him that he would commit to Wisconsin in a few weeks over Michigan and Notre Dame. But after visiting Penn State again, for whatever reason, he simply realized how perfect of a fit he was in Happy Valley.