Quite the contrary to be honest, as Shelton had a spectacular official visit. On a scale of 1 to 10, he told me he wanted to give it a 15. In his eyes, the Wisconsin visit could not have been better … but he wants to wait for one specific reason. Shelton committed to Florida State last summer after the Seminoles made an early offer, taking himself off the board and causing a lot of teams to go in a different direction. He felt he didn't really get full view of the recruiting process and see other schools; a notion that I believe he realized when the Badgers started recruiting him. Knowing that he jumped into the Florida State decision so quickly, it makes perfect sense that Shelton wouldn't want to commit after his first official visit.
I'd say there's a 95 percent chance he'll commit to Wisconsin, but he told me he doesn't want to de-commit again and wants to make sure he finds the right fit. He talked about taking a visit out to Nebraska – maybe for the Wisconsin game – and a few other places. I have a feeling though that once he goes to Nebraska, sits in the stands and starts cheering for UW, he'll realize that Wisconsin is where his future is.
The Wolverines State had been a dead zone for Wisconsin recruiting since Bret Bielema took over in 2006, as the Badgers had only gotten a verbal commitment from right guard Zac Matthias, whose high school team was so bad that few schools paid attention to him. Obviously with Stewart committing early, Wisconsin has a cornerstone player to tempt offensive recruits with.
The Badgers and tight end coach Eddie Faulkner are really trying to make headway in Detroit, especially at Cass Tech High School. The program has produced 14 NFL professionals since 1917 and has sent 17 players to Division 1 FBS/FCS programs since the Class of 2008, most of any high school program in Michigan according to Scout.com. The Technicians won the PSL championship in 2010 and one-upped themselves last season with a 49-13 drubbing over Detroit Catholic Central title in the Division 1 title game.
Wisconsin missed out on senior offensive tackle Dennis Finley, who committed to Michigan State but had UW in his top three, but the Badgers have already expressed a lot of early interest in a couple of junior linebackers. Deon Drake already holds a Wisconsin offer (along with Cincinnati, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse) but said recently that Ohio State was his favorite … even though the Buckeyes haven't offered.
Wisconsin also really likes Gary Hosey, who visited Michigan State and Ohio State over the weekend. Although Hosey currently just has one offer from Wayne State, the Badgers have been one of the BCS schools watching him compete. With Michigan State and Michigan improving its programs, it'll be harder to get elite talent out of the state … but UW is already off to a good start with Stewart.
Has Wisconsin recruiting done a lot of recruiting for 2015 and if so, who are some of its top targets?
As long as I have been covering recruiting, Wisconsin has not offered kids two years down the road, especially from out of state. So when news came down that the Badgers offered defensive end Hale Hentges and Jordan Scarlett, you had an idea these guys were pretty good. Hentges was offered by the Badgers in the spring, and has offers from Arkansas, Iowa, Iowa State and Missouri. Talking to his father, the family was wowed by the university and the people that were at Wisconsin. For a family as close as theirs, that's a huge benefit for the Badgers.
Scarlett is from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School, the same school as Wisconsin sophomore cornerback Devin Gaulden. Despite the difference in age, Scarlett said he and Gaulden have a close relationship and the two have been talking a lot about Wisconsin. Scarlett also has a really good relationship with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. Scarlett has an early top four of Wisconsin, Miami, LSU and Alabama … a lot of local and tradition-rich schools that UW is competing with for his services.
Who are the Badgers still recruiting at running back for the class of 2013?
Do the Badgers really need a running back? Austin Ramesh is second in the state in rushing and has only played three halves of football, rushing for 539 yards and four touchdowns. He's also made 22 tackles from his linebacker position, 17 of which came in the opener. The competition might not be the best in northern Wisconsin, but those are still impressive numbers. Throw in the fact that Garret Dooley carried the ball only four times in the season opener and finished with 147 yards and three scores, including a 50-yard and 73-yard run, and T.J. Watt rushed for 137 yards in eight carries last week, running back should be on the backburner, right?
OK. I digress. Wisconsin appears to want David Williams or Corey Clement and then Alex Collins, in that order, according to a source. Thomas Hammock has really pushed for Williams, who visited unofficially during the spring and has had weekly phone calls with Hammock. Williams will officially visit Arizona State this weekend for its Sept. 8 game against Illinois. He said he continues to consider Nebraska, Tennessee, Ohio State and South Carolina as well.
Corey Clement picks Pittsburgh in mid June, but announced that he was going to take official visits to Nebraska (last weekend), Wisconsin (September 14) and Notre Dame (September 21). I would imagine he would also take an official visit to Pittsburgh. Like Shelton, Clement didn't feel he took advantage of his choices and see a lot of different schools and with Hammock staying in touch with him, this is a good opportunity for Wisconsin to showcase its school.
Miami commit Alex Collins appears to be a plan B guy. A good friend of Shelton's, Collins came up to Wisconsin for the Badgers' spring game and told me he loved the visit and wanted to return. Collins has natural size at 5-11 and 200 pounds and could really be a beast when he has time to lift weights (he plays lacrosse in the summer). There's been rumors about grades and other things that has caused him to tumble down the recruiting board, although I haven't been able to confirm that. I just think Williams or Clement are rated high by the staff.
Who will finish out Wisconsin's 2013 basketball recruiting class?
I say the Badgers hit the jackpot and get both Vitto Brown and Kyle Washington. Both players have been talking high on Wisconsin for quite some time. I think Brown will commit on his official visit this fall and I think Washington will eventually come around. I ran into some people this weekend that spent time with Nigel Hayes on his official visit. They said he was a good player and a good person, but more of a quiet guy. His comments about Wisconsin were good when we caught up with him, but they weren't amazing, like we heard from Shelton. With Hayes going on more visits, I am under the impression that he's going elsewhere, probably Ohio State.