Game Week Mailbag

Where does the 2013 recruiting classes stand with Wisconsin football and basketball? What's the status on Jeff Lewis and Chris Borland? How good of a sales pitch are UW's committed recruits giving? There are a lot of good questions to be answered in this week's Badger Nation mailbag.

What does the supposed addition of Tyler Foreman do for Wisconsin's recruiting class?

It certainly shakes things up and probably limits the spots in the recruiting class to only a couple more players. I talked to a source yesterday and he said UW has ‘very few spots' left, which is reassuring since I count UW over the 85 scholarship limit currently if Foreman does indeed join Wisconsin.

The Badgers are courting Cameron Walker, Tiquentin Coleman and Marcus Ball and it appears Wisconsin has room for two of them. That implies UW a number of things. One, there are going to be a lot of scholarship players leaving after the season. Two, UW is no longer committed to going after a quarterback, another tailback or a second receiver in the class. Speaking to another person yesterday, he told me Tyler Boyd's visit to UW is 50-50 and that Boyd and UW have a good relationship. That applies to me that UW no longer has room for him.

I've also been told Wisconsin has pulled the offer to Cypress Bay (Fla.) cornerback Boaz Joseph, as he will not be visiting this weekend. It'll be interesting to see if UW does the same with Florida linebacker Skai Moore, who is also coming up here this weekend.

In addition to another defensive back, UW wants another defensive tackle and offensive lineman in the class. By my count, UW has offers out to and is still courting 15 players. There's no way they can take more than one-third of them.

How about an update on Jeff Lewis? Where does he fit into UW's plans or is he considering transferring since he doesn't get much, if any, playing time?

It was nice to see Lewis get a couple carries and get into the end zone Saturday at Indiana, since the redshirt sophomore from Brookfield Central had only received carries in two games this season and 10 over the last two years.

It's been tough being in the same class as James White, who has had his only battles trying to get carries away from Montee Ball. According to running back coach Thomas Hammock, Lewis has been running the ball well, and make enough strides where he's put himself in position to be a part of the three-man rotation next season with White and then-sophomore Melvin Gordon.

"The one thing we always talk about is performance, not seniority," said Hammock. "You've got to go compete. Bowl prep will be a big time for him. Spring ball will be a big time for him, too, to continue to develop as a player and a guy we can depend on."

Hammock said he hasn't had any worries about Lewis leaving or seen any signs that he wasn't ‘locked in' for the opportunity when it comes.

"The thing I try to explain in the meeting room is we only have one football and a bunch of good players," said Hammock. "We have to continue to compete and get yourself in position where you can help the team. It's always tough. Running back is the one position other than quarterback where everybody is looking at that one guy.

"We've got four guys that are really good players. The one thing about Wisconsin is we have great kids and competitors who want to help the team win. They'll do anything to help the team win."

How many more scholarships are (or will be) available for the 2014 recruiting class? To what extent does Josh Gasser's injury affect our decisions?

Needless to say, Gasser's injury was a big blow to UW's ability to recruit the class of 2014. Wisconsin was originally looking at three scholarships to come off the books (Gasser, Ben Brust and Duje Dukan). Now with Gasser and Dukan both redshirting, that leaves Brust as the lone senior. If you're looking at the scholarship chart, Brust wouldn't be able to redshirt the next two years, even if he wanted to, because that would put UW over on its 13 scholarships.

However, I was told by a UW official that the Badgers may be able to find another scholarship. He didn't elaborate on the comment. UW has Ethan Happ already committed for the 2014 class and UW coaches really like his potential to grow into a player. There's little chance they give him up. Right now, UW has seven known offers out to 2014 players. I would argue that only (Bryan Alberts, Michael Finke and Kevon Looney) are truly considering UW.

It will be interesting to see what UW does going forward, but I'd imagine the decision by Dukan probably knocks Finke out of contention for a scholarship at this point.

I'm really curious about the status of Chris Borland for this weekend.

Borland is good to go from all accounts. Borland had some minor cramping issues late in the game against Indiana when things were already well in hand. Borland would have to be chained to the bench and his helmet stashed for him not to play.

How have UW's committed recruits helped recruit other prospects?

We've seen what in-state players have done for the program, as Chikwe Obasih, Jaden Gault and others have been present at virtually every home game and have talked to players about the program on campus. But what about those players that don't make it to every game or aren't in the state? Talking to Rob Wheelwright and Matt Miller over the last two weeks, it's evident they are still doing their part, too.

Wheelwright will make his official visit this weekend along with safety Marcus Ball. Ball and Wheelwright go to school less than 20 miles apart and have played AAU basketball together since they were young.

"We speak here and there," Wheelwright said. "I've been telling him to come to Wisconsin. We're on good terms and we've known each other for a long time."

There's also a deeper connection between Wheelwright's Walnut Ridge High and Ball's Westerville South High, as Walnut Ridge produced UW tight end Austin Traylor and Ball's older brother, Ray, is an offensive lineman at Wisconsin. Both are redshirt freshman and were roommates.

"We all have been telling him about Wisconsin, but we're having fun with it," said Wheelwright. "We hope he makes a good decision for himself."

In addition to Wheelwright, Toledo St. John's Jesuit offensive lineman Matt Miller spent time talking to Washington commit Sean Harlow during Harlow's official a couple weeks back. Miller has also reached out to Alex Collins, David Knevel and Craig Evans.

"I've just talked a lot about (guys') recruiting and hear what guys have to say," said Miller. "I just explain why Wisconsin is so important to me and why I made my decision."

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