Class of 2013: Tight Ends

With less than a month until national signing day, BadgerNation breaks down the 2013 recruiting class position by position as it stands today. In this edition, we break down the two tight ends currently committed to Wisconsin.

Number of Scholarship Players added: 2 (Troy Fumagalli – rated two stars and No.83 TE overall; T.J. Watt – rated three stars and No.44 TE)

Number of Scholarship Players lost: 0

Who did the Badgers beat? Fumagalli picked Wisconsin over eight offers, but none from the BCS. Watt picked Wisconsin over Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

Recruiting Stories

Troy Fumagalli

Originally playing a lot of slot receiver in high school, Fumagalli's frame combined with his abilities made him a solid tight end prospect, a fact he recognized as he started preparing for his senior season.

"I just hope to get into a West Coast system like we run at Waubonsie Valley that puts me in the slot," Fumagalli said in February. "I want to go somewhere that I can be used as a passing tight end."

Northern Illinois was the first school to make an offer, but Fumagalli had his sights set higher. He visited Illinois, Iowa State, Northwestern and Wisconsin for spring practices and the Illini and the Badgers showed the most interest heading deep into the summer. What separated Wisconsin from Illinois was the Badgers saw Fumagalli as a tight end and the Illini saw a future defensive end.

Shortly after visiting for Wisconsin's season-opening game, Fumagalli was given a scholarship. Although he had more visits scheduled, Fumagalli knew there weren't many better places for a tight end prospect to play than in Wisconsin's offense.

"After my visit I knew that Wisconsin was the best fit for me," Fumagalli told us. "And my family actually felt the same way about it … I think I'll bring a passing threat to Wisconsin."

T.J. Watt

By the time T.J. Watt was ready to start the recruiting process, the secret of his family was out. J.J. Watt was already starting to turn heads in the NFL while middle brother, Derek Watt, was learning the ropes on Wisconsin's scour team. So after posting 27 catches for 505 yards and three touchdowns his junior season, Watt picked up two scholarship offers quicker in the process than his brothers.

It only was going to get better. Watt was told during Wisconsin's February Junior Day that the Badgers were likely going to offer one tight end and that player would be the one who stepped up during the high school summer camps.

That mode of thinking changed roughly two weeks later. When Scott Orndorff de-committed from Wisconsin, Wisconsin realized bringing another Watt into the equation wasn't a bad thing. Wisconsin offered T.J. and he committed shortly after.

"I'm very excited to commit because it's been a dream of mine," Watt told us. "That's why I committed right away. Every time I go up there, it feels like home to me."

Fumagalli's Scouting Report: Fumagalli took on a new task for his senior season by playing defensive end. In a way it helped him grow his body by putting on seven pounds. Fumagalli is still undersized at 225 pounds, but he says he's spending the winter weightlifting and preparing his body. Fumagalli is a good, young tight end prospect, which is exactly what UW needs with a lot of depth currently at the position. He has the frame to add more weight and be a real dynamic threat in the passing game. He has a great work ethic and toughness that is going to make him a major aspect in the run and passing game.

Watt's Scouting Report: Watt was the perfect replacement when Orndoff backed out of his verbal commitment – a tough, blue-collared player who is without many thrills. It's really hard to gauge how he developed as a tight end this season because Watt was used as Pewaukee's quarterback, a huge nod to his athleticism, versatility and football IQ. He'll certainly have to grow and build his frame at Wisconsin like his older brothers, but he's a good fit for a pro-style offense. If he turns out like his two older brothers, this is a terrific pickup for UW.

How the position could change: If Fumagalli flips to North Carolina State. Fumagalli has said for a couple weeks that he is excited to play for Gary Andersen and the new staff, but he took a visit to Raleigh this past weekend to get to know the new coaching staff (Dave Doeren gave Fumagalli his first scholarship offer and Eddie Faulkner recruited Fumagalli at Wisconsin), see the facilities and have a BCS school to compare to Wisconsin.

Fumagalli called the visit "awesome" and said he got all his questions answered, liked the campus and loved the basketball game in which the Wolfpack upset No.1 Duke. Fumagalli said N.C. State and Wisconsin are his top two and that he's going to take time to figure out his decision. However, he did tell us that, "Wisconsin is where I want to be."

"I want to be there. There are very few places that compare with Wisconsin. It'll be good to meet with the new staff in person and see how they feel about me as a player … My commitment to Wisconsin is very sincere and I am hopeful to become a full scholarship member of the team with Wisconsin. I truly believe Coach Andersen is a great choice to take over this program and can't wait to see him get to work."

For more information on the 2013 Wisconsin verbal commits, sign up for a three-month or year subscription with Badgernation.com in time to get the 2013 Wisconsin Recruiting Yearbook that includes breakdowns, features and interviews of the entire class


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