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.
DT Arthur Goldberg, 6-4, 270, Mt. Lebanon (PA) High
Badgernation.com's take: One of the mystery prospects of the 2012 recruiting class, Goldberg has gone into hiding some texting his verbal commitment to recruiting sites in late June. Goldberg had plenty of offers from East Coast schools and said his final two were Pittsburgh and the Badgers. Goldberg, who hadn't visited UW before the week he committed, went to a Pittsburgh camp first and then made his first trip to Wisconsin. That second trip resulted in him being blown away by the campus, facilities and playing in the Big Ten. While he hasn't talked, one UW source said that Goldberg plays with fierceness and an attitude, giving him the right mindset for the position.
Who is out there:
Five-star DT Tommy Schutt, 6-3, 290, Glenbard West (Ill) High
Badgernation.com's take: Since April, no recruiting site had been able to corner Tommy Schutt to get an idea of what schools he was looking at or what he was thinking. Our friends at the Northwestern site ended the dry spell, as Schutt revealed that Wisconsin is in his top four, along with Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State. He visited the Irish last weekend, will visit UW and will probably announce by the first week of September. Schutt said all the schools are even and that he's looking for comfort, tradition, coaching staff, players and winning success. If that's the case, Wisconsin fits all those categories the best over the last few seasons.
Four-star DT Sheldon Day, 6-2, 278, Warren Central (Ind) High
Badgernation.com's take: A lot like Schutt, Day hasn't said too much throughout the recruiting process. A Midwest guy that says he is out to prove he's out to ‘bang with anybody and get down and dirty with anybody (because) we are just powerhouses … and just love to compete.' Day is not close to his decision and said he is wide open. He didn't mention any schools he has visited or is planning on taking an official to.
Four-star DT Faith Ekakitie, 6-3, 275, Lake Forest (Ill) Academy
Badgernation.com's take: A native of Brampton, Ontario, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Ekakitie was a basketball standout until the high school football coach from Lake Forest Academy (Ill.) watched him play and suggested that he come down to Illinois and play football. Spending some time working with Core 6, the same facilities that trained Badger commit Dan Voltz, Ekakitie came into the preseason before his junior year at 254 pounds. He finished the season at 285 pounds, and added 15 sacks. Ekakitie is in the process of narrowing his list to 10 and Wisconsin is expected to make the cut, especially since he had such a positive experience at UW's victory over Ohio State.
Four-star DT Vincent Valentine, 6-4, 315, Edwardsville (Ill) High
Badgernation.com's take: Valentine is a mammoth man with a ton of talent and upside. Valentine was at Wisconsin's Junior Day in February, one of only three schools he has visited along with Illinois and Oklahoma. The most impressive aspect of Valentine's UW visit was experiencing a high intensity workout and lauding how much the Badgers' fan base creates such a positive atmosphere. Still, Wisconsin has got some convincing to do with him, as it's apparent he has Nebraska high up on his list.
Three-star DT Kelby Latta, 6-3, 293, Harper Creek (Mich) High
Badgernation.com's take: It's been a frustrating summer for Latta, who has surgery to repair his shoulder and has been on the mend this summer and unable to compete in camps. Latta earned his Wisconsin offered during last year's summer camp, and has said for a long time that he's been favoring Wisconsin. In addition to UW, Latta holds offers from Michigan State and Western Michigan, but only the Broncos have been recruiting him hard. It's hard to get a read on Latta's timetable, but he's told his site previously that he was going to wait to make his decision after the season to allow more schools to look at him.
Who isn't out there:
Wisconsin was in the race for four-star DT Jaleel Johnson for a long time, even making his top three, but the Illinois athlete ended up picking Iowa over Michigan State. The Badgers almost made the top three for Detroit DT Matt Godin, but it became obvious late in the process that nothing was going to pry him away from playing close to home at Michigan.
Although he hasn't made his decision yet, Don Bosco (NJ) High five-star defensive end Darius Hamilton recently cut his list down to six and the Badgers were among his finalists, which wasn't a big surprise.