Q: It appears Wisconsin's top two tight end targets are Ryan Izzo and Mike Gesicki? Compare and contrast the two players and who would be a better fit for Wisconsin's offense?
A: From Brian Dohn, who covers the East Coast for Fox Sports Next: They are similar players because of their size and the way they would be used. Gesicki plays receiver exclusively in high school, and he doesn't line up in the slot often and rarely as a tight end. He has great leaping ability and he tracks the ball well. He also shows good explosion but he does need to improve his ability to get off the line of scrimmage. One key thing to remember with Gesicki is he would rather play receiver than tight end in college.
When it comes to Izzo, he is not nearly as developed in a physical way like Gesicki. Izzo still needs to add a lot more weight and strength, and playing the Big Ten could be a big of a chore for him for a few years until he can gain the needed strength and size. He does a nice job on routes and is comfortable catching the ball in traffic.
At this point, I think Gesicki is much further along and closer to being ready to play in college.
Q: How many more OL do you expect them to take, and who are the likely targets?
A: From Benjamin Worgull: Publisher of Badger Nation: Gary Andersen has talked for months about increasing the scholarship depth on the offensive line. It was one of the main reasons he bumped Hayden Biegel up from a grayshirt to a full scholarship offer. Wanting 15 scholarship offensive linemen on his roster, Wisconsin is currently working with 11 since incoming freshman Matt Miller has not been medically cleared.
Wisconsin has a good start to rebuilding its OL depth in 2014 with commitments from Jaden Gault, George Panos and Michael Deiter, but the Badgers would like to take at least two more prospects. UW sits in good shape with Kaleb McGary and is trying to get him on campus for a visit (he was going to visit in the summer but had a conflict with an AAU event). Wisconsin is also getting an official from five-star offensive guard Damien Mama in Northwestern. He would be a grand slam home run.
Q: Casey Garrow reported that Joe Mixon and Damien Mama could be a package deal because of their relationship with each other. How likely of a possibility is that? If they do play together, where are their likely landing spots?
A: From Greg Biggins, who covers the West Coast from Fox Sports Next: I don't ever put any stock in to package deals to be honest. Every year you have tons of players who build relationships with fellow recruits and start talking about wanting to play together in college. Mixon and Mama are close but both players are actually closer to other players.
The schools most mentioned with Mama have always been USC, Alabama and UCLA. None of those schools are currently on Mixon's list. Wisconsin will get a visit from both so there's obviously a one in five chance they attend school together but my feeling is if it happens, it will happen because both players really like Wisconsin as their top school, not because they conspired together to attend the same college.
Q: Wisconsin's in-state class in 2014 is really strong, but not a lot has been written about the in-state 2015 kids. What are the big name in-state juniors to watch this season?
A: From Allen Trieu, who is the Fox Sports Next's Midwest National Recruiting Analyst: Well Jon Dietzen is, to me, the top dog in the 2015 class in the state right now and a national type guy. I really like Andrew Ruzek. He's not getting a ton of attention yet, but I think he's going to. James Morgan is a quarterback getting a lot of attention. We're going to take a close look at him this year, as I'm sure a lot of college programs will. As usual, there is a lot of size in Wisconsin. There are some big 2015 kids, we just have to watch them a little more this season to see how they develop. I'd say, at the moment, it is not as strong of a class as 2014, but you never know who will emerge.
Q: Jalen Brown put Wisconsin in his top seven after taking an unofficial during the summer and has scheduled an official for September. That's obviously good news, but does Wisconsin have a real chance to land him? Is UW's opportunity to offer early playing time the biggest selling point?
A: From Jason Jewell, who covers Arizona for Fox Sports Next: I would assume that Brown scheduling an early official visit is a good sign for Wisconsin and my guess is if he doesn't like the visit he will scratch them early. He has had no problem eliminating schools. He named USC and UCLA in his top seven and eliminated them just a few weeks later. I think playing time is a factor but not the only factor. Education is very important to him as is family. His mother is from the area so that is the main reason I think that Wisconsin is even in the hunt.
Q: Wisconsin landed Taiwan Deal from Dematha Catholic but lost out on Brock Ruble (not top five) and Cameron Phillips (Virginia Tech). What are UW's chances with Chris Jones?
A: From Rachel Klein, who covers Maryland for Fox Sports Next: Wisconsin definitely has a shot at Jones, especially because the Badgers have significant and good ties to the staff at Dematha. He has said he wants to wait until January to make a decision. However after talking to his father, I don't foresee him drawing out the process for that long. The downside for Wisconsin is distance. Mr. Jones runs a personal training gym and facility for athletes in Maryland so staying close to home would allow his family to see him play a lot. I would say the Badgers are still in it but they have some room to make up on his leader board.
Q: Wisconsin appears to be in the top group for Deion Hallmon and Andre Godfrey, but neither player is rated by Fox Sports Next. How good of players are they and where do you think both plays will end up?
A: From Jamie Newberg, who covers Florida from Fox Sports Next: We just haven't gotten to them yet and are in the middle of ranking a ton of players in Florida and around the country. Both defensive backs would get three-star recommendations from me.
Hallmon is a solid cover corner with good size but better length. He has good speed and can play man or zone. He's solid but not overwhelming against the run. Godfrey plays safety near the line of scrimmage and back away [in traditional location]. He's solid against the run and pass. Godfrey has good size and seems to play with good instincts and coverage awareness.
These are two good, solid recruits from South Florida that I think Wisconsin has a good shot at.
Q: Not only OL, but there seem to be a shockingly few number of DB offers out there. Given the coaching staff consistently talking about how thin they are in both places, it seems surprising that there aren't more outstanding offers to DBs. Who are they targeting at DB (obviously the Buford, GA kid and Figaro from MA, as well as Hudson, who has already committed), and how many more kids do you expect them to try and take?? Or are they that confident that all 3 will commit, and that's enough for this class, given the additions of Shelton, Brookins and Reynard last class?
A: From Worgull: Already with a commitment from safety Austin Hudson, Wisconsin is sitting in very good shape with Detroit King's Jalen Embry and Everett's Lubern Figaro, two players I can see being a part of this class. Embry was very impressive during UW's high school summer camp and, after sending in his transcripts, earned his scholarship offer. He'll likely make his decision in the next couple weeks. Figaro is a former teammate of current UW freshman Jakarrie Washington, and will visit officially for the Wisconsin-Purdue game.
As the answer above states, Wisconsin is in good shape for Hallmon and Godfrey. While Hallmon hasn't planned his official, Godfrey will be coming to Wisconsin in October for the Northwestern game. If Wisconsin got Embry, Figaro and Godfrey, combined with the additions in the 2013 class, that would do wonders for UW's depth at the position.