Despite already having three commitments from linebackers in the 2015 class, the Wisconsin coaching staff isn't done recruiting and rebuilding the position.
With head coach Gary Andersen and his staff looking to add at least one, possibly two, more prospects to help replenish the talent, one of the targets is Miami Gulliver Prep three-star recruit Dominic Sheppard, who currently holds 19 offers and is planning on releasing a top five by the end of July.
"I have some really good offers right now and I just feel like its time for me to cut my list down and close in on a decision," Sheppard told BadgerNation. "Once I have my top five, I'd like to announce my decision before my season starts, which is August 15."
Although Sheppard is still figuring out which schools will make his cut, he knows that Wisconsin and Ohio State will be two schools that will make the cut.
"Those two schools are showing the most interest currently and they both have great education programs," Sheppard said. "I still don't know what I'll study in college but right now I'm leaning toward engineering."
Holding offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee and others, the 6-1, 210-pound Sheppard will consider how much a school really likes him, where he stands on their recruiting board, how they plan on using him and coaching style. With Wisconsin losing five linebackers due to graduation, Sheppard doesn't have to guess where he stands with the Badgers, as he can tell he is a top priority.
"I talk with Chris Beatty a lot if it's Facebook, Twitter or the phone. We just talk about how it's going with us and football," Sheppard said. "We have a real good relationship. He tells me how I would fit the program, how I can be a star player for them and how I could be a program changer. It just means a lot to me when I hear stuff like that. It would be pretty cool if I could help take Wisconsin to a place they've never been to before if I end up choosing Wisconsin."
Sheppard said he also has built a relationship with former Wisconsin and current co-defensive coordinator for Ohio State Chris Ash.
"We usually only talk about once every two weeks and we just usually talk about how I will fit into their defensive system," Sheppard said.
Rated as the No.60 outside linebacker by Scout.com, Sheppard has played multiple positions over the last two years for Gulliver Prep. During Sheppard's sophomore season, he lined up as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end and played middle linebacker last season.
"I really don't have a preference. I feel like I fit better at outside linebacker where I can get after the quarterback," said Sheppard, who recorded six sacks and four tackles for loss as a sophomore. "Beatty has told me that he believes that I could be on the field all the time playing either outside or on the inside."
If Sheppard doesn't commit before his season, he plans on taking all five official visits. Sheppard currently has a visit set to Wisconsin on October 25 against Maryland.
"I'm looking forward to my visit," Sheppard said. "To get a chance to speak with Beatty in person will be nice, but I also am looking forward to the environment inside and outside the stadium and if I feel comfortable in Madison, how the Wisconsin coaches treat their players, how the team plays, the campus lifestyle and how friendly the people are in Wisconsin."