The Chart: 2013 Receivers

After seeing some inconsistent play from the receivers during the Wisconsin spring game, it's evident that the Badgers need some solid playmakers as pass-catching weapons. The Badgers received a verbal commitment from one such player, but appear to be looking for another. Badger Nation looks at the position.

MADISON - With a hug and a sigh of relief, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema knew he had found his stud wide receiver of the future last Sunday. With an equally big sigh of relief, four-star wide receiver Rob Wheelwright found a place where he's excited to play at.

"I really liked the facility and I liked the program," Wheelwright told us following his decision. "Everything was real nice. It seemed like they really wanted me to come and I was really appreciative of that. I made the decision right before I left that I wanted to come here"

Wheelwright, the younger brother of Minnesota receiver Ernie Wheelwright (2004-'07), has a knack for making plays. Improving his body, his routes and his overall game following his sophomore season, Wheelwright was a confident junior for Walnut Ridge HS, making 44 catches for 600 yards.

"He kept growing up (from last year) and really improved his strength, route running," said high school coach Bryon Mattox. "He always caught the ball really well, but he continued to get better in that area. He got faster ... He reminds me of a young Nick Toon."

Just Wheelwright reminds people of New Orleans Saints' fourth-round NFL Draft choice, Pewaukee (Wis.) tight end T.J. Watt is going to remind people of … well, J.J. Watt and Derek Watt. After posting 27 catches for 505 yards and three touchdowns his junior season, Watt – 6-4, 200 pounds – picked the Badgers over Minnesota and Northern Illinois after Wisconsin increased his offer from a grayshirt opportunity to a full offer.

Watt was the perfect replacement when Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff backed out of his verbal commitment – a tough, blue-collared player who is without any thrills. If he turns out like his two older brothers, this is a terrific pickup for UW.

Although Wheelwright is committed and the Badgers scholarship numbers are short, the UW coaching staff is still dropping in on other top receivers in the 2013 class, signaling that the Badgers are looking for another playmaker to add to their arsenal.

In our Badger Nation series, here is who we view as Badgers targets (interest listed implies to the prospect's interest in Wisconsin).

Top of the List

Four-star Francis Owusu (Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA)

Having one older brother be a wide receiver at Stanford, another brother a cornerback at Harvard and a father who was an Olympic sprinter, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that the Owusu family is full of smart, athletic kids. The most talented, however, could be Francis, as the 6-4, 200-pounder has more offers than either of his brothers did.

Owusu has received offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, San Diego State, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin. It's a wide range of offers due to the fact that the Owusu family and Oaks Christian have such a solid reputation. In Wisconsin's case, former Stanford assistant Andy Buh was on scene when Chris Owusu was with the Cardinal.

Owusu is a solid pass catcher who has a knack for making plays. Because of his brother, he's very polished as a receiver and looks to have that extra gear cutting in and out of his breaks. Although Owusu didn't make it to Wisconsin during the Badgers' spring practices, wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni visited the school earlier this week to watch him work.

No question this is an uphill battle for Wisconsin, but the coaches have a chance if they can get him on to campus.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium to medium-low interest

Four-star Tyler Boyd (Clairton HS, Clairton, PA)

Boyd is the definition of an athlete, playing defensive back, running back and receiver for one of the best prep schools in the country. Not only has he had a hand in helping his team with three consecutive PIAA Class A state championships, the Bears have won 47 straight games – the longest active winning streak in the country.

Boyd claims offers from Akron, Arizona, Boston College, Buffalo, Illinois, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Boyd got his UW offer in late March from defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. Although he has visited a ton of campuses, he has yet to see Wisconsin.

Wisconsin will stay on Boyd until the end because while the Badgers might be set at receiver, Boyd could fill out and play safety. Moreover, he is a winner and hates to lose, which is the kind of philosophy you want instilled in your players. Boyd doesn't appear near a decision, so Wisconsin has some time to try and get him on campus.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium to medium-low interest

Three-star Travis Johnson (Jesuit HS, Tampa, Fla)

Like Boyd, Johnson is a talented prospect that plays on both side of the football, as he finished his junior season with 48 catches for 653 yards and four touchdowns and added 31 tackles with seven interceptions on defense.

He's been popular during the spring evaluation period, as coaches from West Virginia have stopped by and offered while coaches from Auburn, Miami, Minnesota, Missouri, and Virginia have all stopped by practice. On Thursday, Johnson was invited to the US Army All-American Game and has seen his scholarship total near 40 offers.

Johnson has cut his list of offers down to a top 15 – Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Miami, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Florida, USC and Wisconsin – and says Florida, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and USC are recruiting him the hardest. Still Johnson has an appreciation for Wisconsin and its program.

"I just like their program and what they can do," Johnson told us. "They have the ground game which can set up the passing game, which is what I like about them mostly. I've heard they have a nice campus, which makes me excited to go check them out and see what they have when I get a chance."

Johnson's goal is to get a top five before his senior season and take his official visits before making a decision, meaning the Badgers have plenty of time to wow him.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Note: The Badgers have offered four-star Minnesota receiver James Onwualu (Notre Dame commit), five-star Pennsylvania tight end Adam Breneman (Penn State commit) and four-star Ohio tight end Jake Butt (Michigan commit), but there is little to no interest at this time.

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