And with high school football programs beginning practice this week, seniors from around the state who are on Wisconsin’s radar are preparing for their final auditions to show they have the ability to play for the Badgers.
Already having four scholarship players committed to the 2016 class, Wisconsin will be on the look for walk-ons in the coming weeks and months. One of the players who could fit that bill is Madison La Follette athlete Alex Orvis, no stranger to UW’s campus.
Making the short drive over to campus for the school’s junior day and the spring game, Orvis (pictured) tried to make his biggest impression at one of Wisconsin’s high school camps this past summer.
“I went in not knowing whether I should be going for fullback or inside linebacker,” said Orvis. “I’ve talked with coach Mickey Turner about transitioning to fullback, but I went as an inside linebacker and I think I did pretty good on all the drills and such. Coach Turner kept telling me to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
Wisconsin is the only school talking to Orvis who sees him at fullback. While he prefers playing on defense, Orvis wouldn’t mind getting the chance to play on offense in the right program.
“I’ll be playing fullback, tight end and a little bit of inside linebacker this year (for Lafollette),” said Orvis. “Hopefully I’ll give schools more of a view of everywhere I can play on the field and give me some experience actually. I haven’t played that much offense in the past.”
Here are some updates on some other high school prospects who would be good late pickups for Wisconsin.
The top tight end prospect in the state, Germantown’s Conner Edmonds is holding offers from Air Force, Cornell and Valparaiso, recently visited Wyoming and is getting interest from Bowling Green, Louisville and Northern Illinois. Needing to add some depth to the tight end position, Wisconsin has told Edmonds they wanted to watch him progress this fall after working with him at one of its high school camp.
“I'd say the biggest thing I improved this off season is my blocking as a TE,” said Edmonds. “In our HS offense we play more as a split out TE. I need to improve my blocking because that's what the colleges looking at my senior film want to see me do.”
Although the Badgers currently have a commitment from Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro quarterback Kare Lyles, the coaching staff is considering adding a second quarterback in the class. No offers have been extended but it appears Mount Horeb’s Max Meylor is high on the list.
Completing 63 percent of his passes for 2,187 yards, 26 touchdowns and four interceptions last season, Meylor is receiving interest from Central Michigan, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.
“My arm strength has improved,” Meylor said. “I've been zipping the ball in with my more speed and my running game will improve as well this year.”
Meylor’s Mount Horeb-Barneveld team is considered a favorite for the Badger North title after going 10-2 last season and advancing to level three of the playoffs.
“We should be very good,” said Meylor. “We have lots of experience back and a lot of hungry guys to get that gold ball.”
A key piece of Kimberly’s 2014 state championship team, Blair Mulholland committed to South Dakota State over a FBS offer from Air Force and six other offers. He is open to all FBS schools and believes an opportunity for Wisconsin will come in the future. Mulholland was unable to camp at Wisconsin because of an injury.
“I've worked a lot on compartmentalizing, my agility and my leadership,” he said.
Playing for one of the best high school programs in the state, Popp led the Highlanders in catches (28), yards (552) and touchdowns (seven) a season ago. Hitting the camp circuit hard over the summer, Popp said he’s been talking the most to Air Force, Army, North Dakota State, Princeton and South Dakota State.
“The biggest thing I've improved on this year would be my route running and quickness overall,” said Popp. “We look pretty good so far. We have a decent number of guys coming back and are playing pretty well to start.”
One of the handful of talented offensive linemen to compete at Wisconsin’s high school summer camp, Ashwaubenon’s Airon Servais camp performances have generated a lot of interest from the Ivy League and the MAC. He also has been in steady contact with offensive line coach Joe Rudolph over the summer.
“To improve my game I have been spending a lot of time in the weight room just trying to add mass,” Servais said. “Right now I am the biggest and most athletic I have ever been, so I think that will benefit me a lot this season.”