2015 Intro: Jake Whalen

With the University of Wisconsin welcoming its 2015 recruiting class to campus this week, BadgerNation looks at the new Badgers joining the program, like Wausau (WI) West fullback Jake Whalen.

Commitment Date: 1/31/15

Accolades: Jake Whalen attended Wausau West High School … ranked as the No. 1 middle linebacker in Wisconsin, No. 4 in the Midwest and No. 23 in the country by Scout.com … first-team all-state selection by Associated Press and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association … recipient of John Anderson Award as state’s most outstanding senior linebacker … named Valley Football Association’s co-Offensive Player of the Year as a fullback and Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker … racked up 104 tackles, eight TFLs and one sack as a senior … helped West’s defense allow just 11.0 points and 159.3 total yards per game … also averaged 100.1 rushing yards per game, finishing season with 1,001 yards and eight touchdowns … for career, rushed for 1,688 yards and 18 TDs, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Recruiting Competition: Whalen committed to Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Air Force, Army, Buffalo, Iowa, South Dakota State and Southern Illinois.

Why Wisconsin? “There is no other town in America like Madison. That is how I feel, so really that is where I felt most comfortable and can see myself spending four to five years of my career playing there. If something would happen in football, because injuries happen all the time, I could still see myself having fun and going to school there and finishing up my college career. I felt comfortable with the new staff and I really like them a lot.”

Scouting Report: Whalen’s a kid we watched on his junior film and throughout this year, and kept wondering how his offer list didn't line up. He plays very hard and runs well for a kid his size. He also shows the versatility to play either side of the ball. As a linebacker, he flows to the ball well and uses his athleticism to run plays down. On offense, he has all-around skills as a fullback. He can carry it, he can catch it, and he obviously likes contact as a blocker. I think he's a good pickup. He's a kid that, because of his motor and work ethic, is a safe bet to contribute.

BadgerNation Prediction: Former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen didn’t see the value of taking on this middle-tier in-state prospect, choosing to focus on the top players in-state and going elsewhere to fill his roster. Shame on him. After hearing how much these scholarship opportunities meant to Zack Baun, Alec Ingold and Whalen, the Badgers are getting players who are going to bust their tail to contribute to the program.

On film, it is clear that Whalen likes to hit due to his experience as a linebacker, which will translate well to the fullback position. Whalen has also demonstrated the ability to carry the football, and he should be able to have a productive career for Wisconsin. Whalen likely will redshirt, with two scholarship fullbacks currently on the roster. There’s also a chance that the Badgers will re-evaluate him and move him back to linebacker, but this was a good land for Wisconsin in the days leading up to signing day.

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