In the Class of 2010 it was offensive lineman Jake Kaufman, who signed with South Florida, and his recruitment jump started the interest in five-star running back Savon Huggins, four-star safety Sheldon Royster and three-star offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin for the Class of 2011.
Jersey City was buzzing again last year when four-star safety D.J. Singleton was at the peak of his recruitment so it was fitting that the next big thing in Jersey City is Singleton's good friend, cornerback Tre Bell.
"Every day in practice, D.J. made me a better player because we would go at it pretty good," Bell told Badger Nation. "We encourage each other and we've been playing together for a long time. We know each other's weaknesses and strengths. We stay on each other hard in the weight room and push each other. We communicate really well."
That communication is one of the reasons Bell – 5-11, 170 pounds – has such a high interest at looking into Wisconsin. With Singleton starting his UW football career in June, he would like nothing more than for his good buddy to join him in UW's secondary.
"He's recruiting me pretty good," Bell said with a laugh. "He tells me a lot about Wisconsin and how I would like it there."
The Wisconsin coaches, including recruiting contact Thomas Hammock, tend to agree. First seeing Bell when UW started recruiting Huggins, Hammock and the Badgers started sending Bell mail on September 1 and eventually extended an offer in late January.
"They've been in contact a lot, sending mail to the house and to the school," said Bell. "I can tell they have a great defense. I know they have a great offense, but the defense is going to be really good this year. Madison seems like a great town. D.J. has told me a lot about it.
"They have great athletic facilities and the coaches seem like great guys. They are straight forward guys, and that's what I like."
That brutal honesty, according to Bell, comes from UW coach Bret Bielema, who apparently has been quite candid in his conversations with the cornerback.
"I've talked to Coach Bielema and he showed me he's a winner," said Bell. "He asked me what schools have offered me and after I told him, he said none of them were as good as Wisconsin. He's used to winning, which is good. He's straight forward and I really appreciate that."
Bell described his recruitment as ‘crazy,' which would be accurate considering he was once offered four scholarships in 24 hours. In addition to Wisconsin, Boise State, Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Temple, UCF, Vanderbilt and West Virginia have all extended an offer.
Bell claims ‘no four schools or any school' are his favorites, but hopes to start narrowing the process this spring when he makes April visits to Florida, South Carolina and West Virginia. After that, Bell is hoping to get to Wisconsin in the summer to visit Singleton and see the UW program.
All of his visits will hopefully result in Bell making his decision by August, which he believes is still possible with all the new schools entering the picture.
"I'm interested in all schools right now but after I take my trips in April, I should have a top list," said Bell. "I think it's going to be possible to keep my timeline and decide where I want to go despite all the new offers coming in."
Like Singleton, the goal for Bell is to get focused on his senior season. After finishing with 36 tackles, 10 pass breakups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles, Bell is hoping his numbers will lead his team to a state title.
"I cannot wait to start," said Bell. "We open our season playing at the Navy base in Annapolis. I can't wait for that game. We've been working really hard and going through a tough weightlifting process. All this hard work is going to pay off."