State of Recruiting: California

Wisconsin has used its ties to the West to recruit California hard in 2014. BadgerNation.com breaks down the latest in the Golden State in our "State of Recruiting" series.

It could be argued that the Wisconsin staff has more ties to the West Coast than any other region. Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen brought defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, secondary coach Bill Busch and offensive line coach T.J. Woods from Utah State and defensive line coach Chad Kauha’ah’a from Utah.

It’s one of the main reasons the Badgers have made it a point in the last three recruiting cycles to put a lot of time and effort into the state of California, targeting some of the region’s top prospects and some sleeper athletes who could provide an immediate boost on the field.

Commits

Brandyn Lee: One of many camp commits for Wisconsin this past year, Lee fell in love with the campus one he stepped foot on it. While Lee doesn't have elite speed, he's still got pretty good speed, and gets good separation. He is a very good blocker, which is an underrated aspect of his game, catches the ball well, runs very well in his routes and can fight off the jam. With the unfortunate news of Chris Jones and Dareian Watkins no longer coming to UW, grabbing some receivers is now imperative for the Badgers in 2015.

Kyle Penniston

Kyle Penniston: Penniston was the top tight end target on Wisconsin’s recruiting board and the Badgers felt really good about him dating back to last summer. It’s part of the reason why UW didn’t aggressively pursue a tight end prospect at the tail end of 2014 after their other targets went off the board. After striking out in California in the Class of 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 in February.

Top Prospect

Iman Marshall: One of the highest players left on Wisconsin’s recruiting, the five-star cornerback (pictured at top) is the most versatile DB in the West and continues to grow as a prospect, both technically and physically. At 6-1, 195 pounds, he's a big corner and can physically beat up a WR in press coverage. Marshall said at the opening that he’s a long way from cutting down his list, but his dad said the Badgers have been heavily involved. A visit to the campus is possible.

The Next Big Thing

Kevin Estes

Kevin Estes: With three offensive linemen already committed for 2015, Wisconsin will likely take one more at the position, which could be Estes. He and his family were excited about getting an offer from Wisconsin, which he called “O-Line U.” He wants to make his decision in the next month or so.

Badgers Miss Out

Kahlil McKenzie: The nation’s No.1 prospect spent a lot of his middle and high school years in Green Bay before moving out to California, thus giving a lot of people hope the Badgers could land a major score. In the end, the Badgers didn’t even make McKenzie’s final cut. He committed to Tennessee, his dad’s Alma mater, at The Opening.

The following players with offers are committed elsewhere without Wisconsin being overly involved: Jacob Daniel, Ben Humphreys, Isaiah Langley, Reno Rosene, Cameron Smith and Jihree Stewart.

The Rest of the Offerees

D.J. Beavers: Holding seven offers, Beavers says the two schools sticking out to him are Nebraska and Washington.

Jack Dreyer: Growing up admiring the Pac-12 conference, Dreyer has multiple visits schedule this summer to schools in that conference.

Jeremy Kelly: Kelly’s brother is a defensive back at Washington and the younger Kelly is really high on the Huskies.

Olive Sagapolu

Olive Sagapolu: Teammates with Penniston, Wisconsin is in need of a defensive tackle and the 6-2, 290-pound prospect is tops on UW’s list. Being recruited by defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a since he picked up his Wisconsin offer last month, Sagapolu is one to watch.

Rick Wade: Appearing more and more like a UCLA/USC battle for the three-star defensive end.


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