The Chart: 2013 Defensive Backs

Already in the 2013 recruiting class, the Badgers have addressed needs at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive end and linebacker. The one area Wisconsin is still searching to fix is the secondary. Badger Nation looks at the position.

MADISON - Since national signing day, Wisconsin has reeled in six verbal commitments, including one of the top receivers in Ohio, an up-and-coming linebacker and offensive lineman from Illinois and three of the top players in the state of Wisconsin.

But when it comes to bringing a talented, lockdown defensive back, the Badgers are still searching.

Wisconsin loses three defensive backs off this year's team, creating a shortage in depth and talent that the Badgers are looking to restock. Wisconsin started to address that issue last recruiting class – bringing in five players that will likely compete in the secondary. Having offered at least 11 high school juniors for the Class of 2013, it's evident that the Badgers want at least one more shutdown defensive back.

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

Three-star cornerback Jalen Banks (Thornton Township HS, Harvey, IL)

From not getting recruited by Wisconsin during the Badgers' Big Ten title run last season to being one of the top uncommitted defensive backs on UW's recruiting board, Banks knows exactly where the Badgers are sitting with him going into the summer.

"My comfort level with Wisconsin is pretty high," Banks told us. "When I start narrowing things down, I know they are going to be around."

Offered at Wisconsin's junior day, the 6-0, 190-pounds cornerback has been getting a heavy push from the UW coach Bret Bielema, defensive coordinator Chris Ash and the rest of the Wisconsin coaching staff.

"Coach Bielema says I am a really good person in addition to being a good athlete," Banks told us. "He said Wisconsin likes that type of player, and they don't recruit the ‘problem child.' He says I come from a good family, that I'm somebody he loves being around and that I would fit in well with the team."

Banks has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Western Michigan and has been getting strong interest from Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Missouri. Banks doesn't have a list of favorites and hopes to make a decision following his summer camps.

"Definitely when it comes time to take the visits my list will have to narrow them," he said, "but as of right now I'm just trying to stay open-minded."

Status: Offered Scholarship – medium to medium-high interest

Three-star cornerback Sojourn Shelton (Plantation HS, Plantation, Fla.)

His profile says he is committed to Florida State (the school he wanted to play for growing up) but Shelton has had his eyes opened to him that there are other opportunities out there for him to consider. That revelation was brought to him by defensive line coach Charlie Partridge – widely revered in the southern part of Florida – and has offered and recruited Shelton because of his ability to cover athletes.

More importantly, Partridge has not made one complaint about his size.

"A lot of coaches have drawn a red flag because of my weight, but Wisconsin said my weight wasn't an issue and that my abilities were hard to find," Shelton told us. "They said they have a good weight program and that they could put weight on me. That was the first time me hearing that from a school because most school say I am too small.

"Hearing that from Wisconsin, knowing that they like my ability and they could put weight on me, meant a lot."

At Miami's NIKE Camp, the 5-foot-9 and 165-pound Shelton showed how powerful a weapon his size can be, as he used his solid footwork, loose hips and overall cover skills to lock down opponents all afternoon. Because of the new schools coming in and the desire to see more places, Shelton plans to take all five of his visits, and he expects to come to Madison.

"I don't see a problem with taking them," said Shelton. "Guys take visits all the time, so I don't see a problem with it. Right now, I don't have too many offers, so I would like to go to Wisconsin down the road, especially if we stay in contact a lot more. I'd love to give Wisconsin an official."

Status: Offered Scholarship – medium to medium-high interest

Cornerback Boaz Joseph (Cypress Bay HS, Weston, Fla.)

The 6-1, 190-pound cornerback is much bigger than Shelton but doesn't have the offer list or attention to match it. It's hard to believe because Joseph makes a lot of plays in the air and has good skills to play the corner position. Partridge saw that this spring and offered Joseph his first scholarship.

"I had faith in what I do and had pride in the way I played, so I was confident that I would get a response," Joseph told us. "Coach Partridge and I have talked. He's been telling me a lot about Wisconsin, about how my program is based on hard work and so is his program and he tells me it's a good school."

In addition to Wisconsin, Joseph has picked up an offer from Kentucky and said Illinois, Indiana, Miami and Missouri have been showing the most interest. He also says a lot of schools are waiting until he takes the ACT. This spring and summer, Joseph plans to camp with the Hurricanes. He's also planning on taking a closer look at Wisconsin this summer.

Status: Offered Scholarship – medium to medium-high interest

The others

Three-star safety Malik Rucker (Robbinsdale Cooper HS, New Hope, MN.)

Ranked as the second-best player in the state of Minnesota, Rucker has been a jack of all trades in his two years on the varsity level, having played safety, cornerback, receiver and being a returner. As a junior, Rucker registered 52 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two interceptions, earning himself an all-conference selection. When he came down to Wisconsin for the school's junior day, Rucker only had an offer from North Dakota.

That has changed dramatically over the last three months, as Rucker now holds 14 offers from the likes of Arizona State, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and N.C. State to name a few. Wisconsin has yet to offer Rucker because they are hoping to evaluate him more on the field.

"Coach Ash said he wanted to see me turn and run and play some man-to-man coverage, because a lot of my highlights are of me running downhill and hitting people," he told us. "He said he would like to see me do that before they offer me."

Rucker is being recruited by UW as a cornerback, but offensive line coach Mike Markuson visited him last week. If UW wants to make a move, they should shortly before they get too far behind.

"I'm very interested in Wisconsin," Rucker told us. "It would be a big offer for me and I would really consider going there."

Status: No Offered Scholarship – medium to medium-low interest

Note: The Badgers have offered four-star Ohio cornerback Cameron Burrows (Ohio State commit), four-star New Jersey cornerback Eli Woodward (Ohio State), three-star DC cornerback Devin Butler (Notre Dame), three-star Ohio cornerback Ross Douglas (Penn State), New Jersey cornerbacks Anthony Averett (Alabama) and Tre Bell (Florida), four-star Indianapolis safety Antonio Allen (Ole Miss) and safety Malik Greaves (Vanderbilt) but there is no longer any interest.

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