One day down, 364 days to go until the next batch of high school recruits get their turn at the fax machines for the 2016 national signing day.
In his first full recruiting cycle at Wisconsin, Paul Chryst will have a lot of scholarships to work with. Currently at 82 scholarship players, unofficially, the Badgers have 20 scholarship seniors who will use up their eligibility in 2015. With the usual attrition, Wisconsin could have one of its biggest signing classes in recent memory.
The Badgers already have one verbal commit in the fold, as New London (NC) North Stanly four-star running back Antonio Williams – ranked No.99 in the early Scout 300 – committed in December.
Scout.com currently lists Wisconsin as having extended 78 known offers to high school juniors. But because former head coach Gary Andersen handed out offers like candy on Halloween, it’s unclear how many of these offers are still recognized by the new coaching staff.Assuming they are, here is an early look at five prospects who should be high on Wisconsin’s big board.
Chryst and Co. did a fine job recruiting the state in a three week sprint, so let’s see how he does with one of the nation’s top linemen right in his backyard. Ben Bredeson is highly coveted by a number of Midwest programs, including Michigan (where his older brother just committed as a baseball player) and Notre Dame. Bredeson has visited Wisconsin a handful of times, but that was with the old staff. Time for offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph to work his magic with the top-ranked offensive guard and the No.17 overall prospect by Scout.com.
Playing on the defensive line for one of the top high school programs in the country, Tagaloa was offered by Wisconsin in October and Tagaloa said he was “thrilled” with the opportunity to play for the Badgers. Recognizing the success the Badgers have at developing talent, Tagaloa is open to all schools currently. UW has generated some momentum in California (three commits in 2015) and will likely continue to recruit there with defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield, whose background can relate well to Tagaloa. The top-ranked defensive tackle on the West Coast and the No.147 overall prospect says he’ll likely announce next signing day.
Linebacker is not a huge need in 2016 as much as cornerback or wide receiver, but the Badgers can’t pass up a player from the Midwest like Tuf Borland. Although not related to Chris Borland, Borland’s dad did play for Wisconsin, and he has made a handful of visits up to campus. Illinois, Northwestern and Ohio State are some of the early contenders for the four-star prospect, currently ranked No.297 in the country.
After Bredeson, Van Lanen is likely the next best player in the state. A teammate of new UW commit Alec Ingold, Van Lanen was offered in January by Chryst and Co., one of a handful of Big Ten offers that came his way during the contact period. Growing up in the state and being a Badgers fan since he was little, it appears only a matter of time before Van Lanen joins the class.
Wisconsin needs cornerbacks and Thomas Brown has emerged as one of the staff’s best recruiters, so why can’t the former Georgia tailback land a big player from the Peach State? That’s what landing Warrior would be for Wisconsin, as the four-star prospect – ranked No.96 overall – has a dozen offers, including ones from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, where his dad played and was an All-American. Stranger things have happened.