Sleeper Duo Perfect for Badgers

Although not highly ranked and not having a major offer list, defensive backs X'zavien Ausborne and Takadrae Williams (pictured) fit the direction the Wisconsin coaching staff is looking to take its defense.

Playing for a school that consistently develops division 1 prospects, defensive backs Takadrae Williams and X'zavien Ausborne became like most high school football players: they had to wait their turn.

Both played in certain situations for Dallas South Oak Cliff last season, but the lack of real meaningful playing time caused their notoriety to be limited, their highlight tapes to be brief and their national recognition to be small.

But having worked with the duo since the start of last season, defensive coordinator R.J. Bond believes their best football is still years ahead of them.

"Both kids have a high ceiling at the position," Bond told BadgerNation. "They have a chance to be real good players."

The national recruiting rankings won't reflect that Wisconsin landed a major score to its 2015 recruiting class Friday when Williams and Ausborne announced a fewer hours a part that they would be playing for the Badgers.

Both are rated two-star recruits by Scout.com and only held a power five conference offer from Louisville. Williams held an additional football offer from Colorado State and Ausborne had a track offer from Ole Miss.

According to Bond, that was due more to the talented players in front of them in the lineup and not their skills on the football field.

Williams started the first three games at receiver because of the depth the program has in the secondary. But with his 6-2 size, track speed, natural ball skills and ability to quickly pick up new things, the coaching staff utilized the team's bye in week four to start coaching him on the intricacies of defense.

"He has real smooth hips and quick feet," said Bond. "He has the ball skills because he's a receiver. What jumped out to me was to stay low and make tackles on run plays and screens. Most players that switch from offense don't have that willingness. He showed it from the first day he was over there."

The 5-10, 170-pound Ausborne, whose nickname is ‘Buddy,' also started out at a different position, working originally as a running back and a punt returner. After transitioning to the defensive backfield, he played the same position as Oklahoma three-star commit Jamile Johnson and Notre Dame three-star commit Prentice McKinney, but the staff played him in multiple defensive positions instead of sitting him behind his classmates.

"Wherever we needed him we could count on him to do," said Bond. "When we played a very athletic quarterback, we put him at mike linebacker on the spot. Quarterback was stuck after that. He started the spring playing safety and he finished at corner. He really took to the position."

The thing that really caught the eye of Wisconsin, however, was the speed, as Ausborne has been clocked running a 4.29 40-yard dash and a 10.6 in the 100 meters for the school's track team.

"He's a kid that as soon as they saw his track times they were all in," said Bond.

This past spring was his first time as a full time defensive back, meaning Williams is still learning the nuances of the position and needs time in order to be an every down player at the college level.

"He has a very smooth running style about him," said Bond. "His hips and movement are smooth, and he's such a long kid. He moves as though he's a 5-8 kid, but he's long. That allows him to be in the hip pocket of a receiver and play with the double moves and the comeback moves. His natural skills, length, ability to cover and zone savvy is what stood out to all the coaches that came this spring. That really stood out to the Wisconsin coach, as Coach Busch did a good job of recruiting him and X'zavien."

Defensive back coach Bill Busch primarily worked Arizona, Ohio and Utah last season for Wisconsin, but a restructuring of the staff's recruiting areas put Busch in Texas this recruiting cycle, the first time the Badgers recruited the state in over five years.

Some college coaches have recruited South Oak Cliff for years, but Busch fit right in on his first trip there, which made an impression with the coaching staff, Ausborne and Williams.

"He just felt like he was at home when he walked into the school, as if he had been recruiting our school forever," said Bond. "From the first time he walked in our building, he was extremely comfortable, very genuine. He stood us straight forward what it was, what he thought and where he thought they could go. He took a real genuine interest in our kids, and that's all we ask for as high school coaches. He gained our trust and built a relationship with our kids. Our kids felt comfortable committing to Wisconsin."


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