With no primetime home games this season and a home schedule that is missing a lot of the traditional Big Ten powers, Gary Andersen and his coaching staff circled Oct.11-13 as the weekend to try and get as many of their talented targets to take an official visit to their program.
"It's so important to come when there is a buzz in the air and when there's an excitement for football in the fan base," said defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. "It's a Big Ten opponent. It's a pivotal game. All those things, I think, as recruits you feel. They sit around and feel that. There's no better game like that coming up than Saturday."
Wisconsin is sitting at 16 verbal commitments in the Class of 2014, a class that Aranda says is off to a good start but one that still needs more athletes in it. With the amount of stars next to the players' names visiting the program this weekend, any of them could add another big element that the Badgers are missing.
BadgerNation breaks down the official visitors expected on campus this weekend.
Miramar (FL) Safety Andre Godfrey
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 132
The Skinny: Godfrey loves to come up to the line from his safety position and make plays, but has good instincts by being able to drop back if he is playing at the line of scrimmage. Godfrey is a big hitter and is always putting his head on the ball, creating fumbles and opportunities for his offense. Another thing that he thrives on is his tackling ability and you don't see many guys not going down after he hits them.
While he creates big plays through his big hits, he seems to put his head down when he is going in for the hit. That will be a 15-yard penalty ever time, but more importantly, it could cause a serious injury for him or the person he has hit.
Wisconsin sits in his top three along with North Carolina State and Louisville. He had a top five, but eliminated Syracuse and South Florida from his top. He will head to Madison this weekend, go to N.C. State on November 2nd and has yet to set up a visit to Louisville, which he plans to do. He will decide after he takes all three of his visits to his finalists.
Virginia Beach (VA) Bishop Sullivan Catholic Wide Receiver Jamil Kamara
Overall Ranking: 146
Position Ranking: 28
The Skinny: Kamara makes it look effortless when he is on the field. He is a tall and lanky wide out at 6-2 and 205 pounds and really excels at making the play. He knows how to find an opening in the defense and create separation between him and the defender. When you think you got him covered, he can still go up and get it up with great leaping ability and his reliable hands. Surprisingly he has a good burst in the open field and can make guys miss when he gets out there. He's a very impressive player.
My only problem I really see with his game is that he doesn't run crisp and precise routes every time. I wish he would sell that first move in a double move route by juking out the defender and really creating even more separation. If he became cleaner with his route running, he would be even harder to cover.
He has a top five currently of Virginia, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, in no order. He is working on cutting his list to three after his season. Wisconsin does have a feather in its cap by having Virginia native, T.J. Reynard, on their roster and both are very close friends to the point where Kamara went to Reynard's house over Christmas break to work on his highlight tape. This visit could really open his eyes to the great atmosphere at Madison, but the hometown Cavaliers will be one to watch throughout his recruitment.
Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco Offensive Lineman Damien Mama
Overall Ranking: 39
Position Ranking: 2
The Skinny: Mama is arguably the biggest recruit in California in terms of rankings and stature. At 6-4 and 370 pounds, Mama is a mammoth figure and very opposing to line up across from. His pass protection is solid by him using his hands well and being very light on his feet allows him to slide either way or go out on a screen play. The best part of his game has to be his run blocking and he uses all that power and size to his advantage by mauling over defenders. He plays to the whistle and seems to serve out more pancakes than Ihop.
The only knock on Mama would probably be his weight and how big he is. I am not saying he can't move because if you watch him in his highlight tapes, he consistently is getting to the second level and getting out for screen plays. But if he could lose some weight and add more muscle, it would be scary to think of how much better he could be. He is one of the hardest workers you will know and he is working on being leaner when that time comes for him to go to the next level.
He is someone that keeps things regarding his recruitment very close to the vest and doesn't talk a lot about where things are. He has three scheduled official visits: Wisconsin this weekend, Notre Dame on October 18th and Alabama on November 8th. Many look at USC to be the favorite in this race and he went to the Washington State vs. USC game recently, but earlier in the year he also attended the Nevada vs. UCLA, which impressed him as well.
Oakley (CA) Freedom Running Back Joe Mixon
Overall Ranking: 18
Position Ranking: 5
The Skinny: A five-star tailback with offers from everywhere, Mixon's play has lived up to expectations. This 6-1, 215-pound speedster has great burst and excellent vision. When he gets in the open field, it is almost game over against Mixon with his combination of moves and speed. He will add an instant spark to any offense and can be used in the return game as well.
You almost have to nitpick to find Mixon's weaknesses in his game, but I would say that right now he seems to be more of a slasher-type runner than a power runner. He will bulk up in college, but I expect him to contribute instantly at whatever school he chooses. He also will dance too much around the line of scrimmage and he won't be able to do that in college, so those are some things I could see him work on.
The star-studded Mixon has heard probably every sell pitch and seen more than most recruits with the entire country after him. He has consistently been cutting down and changing his list. He has taken three official visits already: one to California, took a surprise visit to someone outside his top five in Washington and then had a good time last weekend at Oklahoma.
Next up on his agenda is Wisconsin and this will be big in seeing how he feels about the Midwest because many believe he will stay on the West Coast.
Houston (TX) Lamar Cornerback John Plattenburg
Overall Ranking: 219
Position Ranking: 23
The Skinny: Plattenburg is an exceptional defender and covers his wide receiver like a blanket. He reads the quarterback's eyes extremely well and will jump the route. It seems at times like he almost baits the quarterback to throw his way and the end result has the quarterback rethinking his decision most of the time. He is one of the nation's elite cover prospects at just 5-11 and 180 pounds. His stock will only rise with the impressive senior season he has been having.
One thing I would like to see more from him is press man-to-man coverage. In a lot of his highlights, you see him playing off the ball and giving the wide receiver no pressure for about five yards. I would like to see him get in the wide receiver's face, jam him at the line and really make him work to get open. With teams running the spread and throwing that quick throw to the flat, they will look to take advantage of that cushion.
Plattenburg is in no rush of making a decision and doesn't even have a timetable. He has visited Oregon and Texas this fall so far with his Wisconsin visit looming. It has also been thought of that TCU and Baylor will get a visit from him as well. The Badgers were not even a team on his radar though but once he saw that the five-star duo of Mama and Mixon were coming to visit Madison, I think it piqued his interest. Recruits take notice of a big weekend like this one and this certainly can make a lasting impression.