Rated: Penniston is an early three-star recruit, currently ranked the No.13 tight end in the country by Scout.com.
On Film: Kyle is a pure pass catcher with great hands and a very good catch radius. He's able to catch the ball consistently with his hands away from his body and is able to absorb contact and take a hit while still maintaining possession. He has a nice frame and should have no problem adding size and strength as he fills out over the next few years.
He'll need to work on being a more dominant run blocker, especially at a school like Wisconsin that loves to run the football, but Mater Dei does a great job instilling toughness and physicality to their players, so this shouldn't be an issue. Penniston projects as a very good possession-type tight end and a nice threat in the red zone. He's not the kind of tight end that is going to stretch the field or give you a lot of run-after-the catch ability but he'll be a very dependable, sure handed pass catcher and a go to guy on key third down possessions.
- Scout.com West Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins.
Recruiting Impact: Wisconsin targeted Mike Gesicki and Ryan Izzo early in the recruiting process but when they committed to Penn State and Florida State, respectively, the Badgers were content not heavily pursuing other options. That decision was mostly due to the stellar development of true freshmen Troy Fumagalli and T.J. Watt, but the position was going to be a priority after UW lost three seniors this season and will lose Sam Arneson next season.
Locking up Penniston early will allow UW to be flexible at the position. UW will certainly look at taking another tight end in this class to help build the depth, and getting Penniston in early was important. Depending on how UW looks at Penniston, either a guy that can bulk up to play on the line or a guy that can split out to create a mismatch with, will determine what kind of tight end they target next.
Quotable: "This is awesome. I've always been a big fan of Wisconsin, but I wanted to make sure it was the right fit for me as a student-athlete. It did, so I knew it was the perfect place to be athletically, academically and socially."
Final Thought: After striking out in California in 2014, despite almost closing on a number of highly-ranked prospects, the Badgers showed that their West Coast pipeline is still very much active by locking up one of their top targets before the snow melts. Although the Badgers will start in-state with their recruiting, UW showed with its first two verbal commitments of 2015 that west of the Rocky Mountains is just as important as any other recruiting region in the country.