Ask the Experts: July Edition

The BadgerNation.com community asked the questions, and the Scout.com team of recruiting analysts chimed in with their answers, opinions and thoughts.


Q: I'd be interested in knowing your take on the top 10 in state football prospects.

A: From Allen Trieu, who covers the Midwest for Scout.com: Here is my list:

1, Jon Dietzen (pictured); 2, James Morgan; 3, David Pfaff; 4, Andrew Ruzek; 5, Nathan Veloz; 6, Vincent Hughes; 7, Alec Ingold; 8, DaRion King; 9, Jake Whalen; 10, Jordan Steckler.

To me, it's not as top heavy as last year, not even close actually, but it's a good group and it's deep. There are 8-10 kids that I had to consider for those last three spots.

Dietzen's the clear number one for me. He's big and physical. Morgan was extremely impressive this summer and will be a steal for Bowling Green in my opinion. Pfaff has such a great motor and is so tough that it's hard to ever bet against him. Ruzek and Veloz are two that I was shocked at the lack of offers for. It's picked up more now, especially for Veloz, who I think is very good.

Hughes continues to fill out and has good upside because of his frame and athleticism. Ingold is a tough eval for me because he's a great athlete who is still learning quarterback, but I think he's going to a perfect fit at Northern Illinois. King is a kid not many know about but he's committed to Western Michigan and is big with soft hands. Whalen can play both sides of the ball and play them well and Steckler is also starting to see his process heat up, especially as he was able to get to some camps.


Q: Do you think they end up getting either Diamond Stone or Henry Ellenson?

A: From Evan Daniels, who is a National Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com: In the end I think it's going to be tough for them with both. With Ellenson’s brother now headed to Marquette, I think they become the clear leader with him. In regards to Stone, I personally like Connecticut and Kansas right now.

From Worgull: I get asked about these two more than any other hoops player in recent memory (probably even more than J.P. Tokoto). Stone has had multiple chances to back off his statement that he and Jackson (MS) Callaway Senior shooting guard Malik Newman were a package deal, but both five-star prospects (both ranked No.1 at their position by Scout.com) have stuck to that desire. With UW not making any current effort to recruit Newman, I put the odds of Stone coming at less than five percent.

Ellenson is a little tougher to gauge because his recruitment, in theory, has changed quite a bit since it was announced Wally Ellenson would be transferring to Marquette. Henry – a five-star center – hasn’t hinted that the move makes the Golden Eagles the leader, but it certainly can’t hurt them. Wisconsin has aggressive recruited Henry and Ellenson has said previously that he loves UW’s campus, coaches and facilities. That was before Wally’s decision and offers from Kentucky and North Carolina. UW has a chance, but shouldn’t be considered the favorite anymore. Chances for Henry’s commitment: 15-20 percent.

Even with all his recent attention, I believe Wisconsin is the team to beat for Josh Sharma. Assistant coach Gary Close has been vigorously recruiting him since Sharma took his official visit in January. If Wisconsin misses on Stone and Ellenson, Sharma – a four-star center – would be a nice consolation prize. Chances for Sharma’s commitment: 40-45 percent.


Q: Could you give us a rundown of the RBs and DTs we're after and our chances?

A: From Brice Marich, who covers Wisconsin Recruiting for Scout.com: Although the Badgers picked up a verbal commitment earlier this week from Missouri City (TX) Marshall tailback Davon Crookshank, Wisconsin will likely be in the market for another tailback.

Mike Weber - the blue collar and hard-nosed tailback from powerhouse Detroit Cass Tech - has made it clear the Badgers are one of the top schools for his services. As the No. 14 ranked running back in the nation and a four-star recruit, many are tugging at him to their corners especially the in-state teams of Michigan and Michigan State. I give Michigan the slight edge in this race right now, but Wisconsin has plenty of time to convince Madison is the place to be with his decision coming at the Army All-American game.

A name that Wisconsin fans should pay more attention to is Winter Garden (FL) West Orange senior running back Dexter Williams. The explosive and talented four-star tailback mentioned to me that he loves Wisconsin downhill style of offense and how they produce plenty of NFL caliber backs. A former Miami commit (the Hurricanes had four running back commits in its class), Williams wants to take an official visit to Wisconsin this fall and could be a dark horse player to join this class for sure.

Milford (PA) Delaware Valley senior running back Nas Bonner has not shied away from letting me know his high interest towards the Badgers. His close connection with running backs coach Thomas Brown and being a big fan of their offense has him itching to visit and possibly commit. However, Wisconsin is in no rush to see his recruitment end as they are after bigger fish, but he is probably the most likely tailback of the three to end up in the class today.

While Wisconsin has some options with running backs, the Badgers only have one offer out to a defensive tackle who will likely give Wisconsin a close look. Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei senior Olive Sagapolu is a 6-2, 290-pound physical tackle who recently was offered by the Badgers. He is very high on them due to his relationship to Coach Chad Kauha’aha’a and his teammate, Badger tight end commit Kyle Penniston.

An under-the-radar guy that the Badgers have been watching and keeping contact with is Du Bois (PA) senior defensive tackle Brad Peterson. Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and assistant coach Chris Beatty have talked to him, but will be seeing how he does his senior season. If Wisconsin misses on more of their targets, the 6-4, 275-pound Peterson might become more of a possibility to land an offer.

Q: Do you think the staff wishes they had offered/built a stronger relationship with Khalil Mckenzie when he was still living in green bay? Does Bo go with a 3 guard 2 forward starting lineup or 2 guards and 3 forwards this year? Which incoming freshman or redshirt freshman will have the biggest impact on the badger football season? Prediction for UW regular season record? Do they make the B1G championship game?

A: From Worgull: A lot of good questions here and I’ll break my answers into bullet points. 1) I think the Badgers did as well as they could with McKenzie. They offered him early (on an unofficial visit last November) and stayed active in his recruitment until the end. Remember that this was a brand new coaching staff two Decembers ago and they needed to get their bearings with the 2013 and 2014 classes before really focusing on 2015. It might have been different had there not been a coaching chance, but I am pretty convinced he would have ended up at Tennessee.

2) Bo Ryan has options and I think it comes with who has a stronger preseason between Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, as the other four spots are set with senior guards Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson, senior center Frank Kaminsky and junior forward Sam Dekker. The good thing about this is that Ryan has options, which will make UW even more dangerous.

3) I think either Caleb Kinlaw/Taiwan Deal will play as the No.3 tailback, Krenwick Sanders at wide receiver, possibly a defensive lineman (Conor Sheehy or Jeremy Patterson) and Austin Hudson will be impact freshmen this season. 4) I think UW goes 10-2 this season and makes the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State.

Q: Can Wisconsin get another verbal commitment from Utah, especially since Austin Kafentzis has been committed for so long?

A: From Doug Kimmel, who covers Utah Recruiting for Scout.com: The most likely Utah prospect to join Kafentzis is Quinn Fabrizio. Wisconsin is the best program that has extended an offer to Fabrizio and they have done a good job recruiting him. Coach Andersen has been very involved with the recruitment.

Christian Folau is another possibility. If he doesn't end up getting into Stanford or decides he wants to play elsewhere, Wisconsin is a likely destination. Wisconsin 2014 commit Ula Tolutau is a great friend of his and Coach Chad Kauha’aha’a and Andersen have consistently been recruiting the Salt Lake City East middle backer.

Osa Masina is a long shot, but if Wisconsin has a big year and his official visit goes well, anything is possible.


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