Wisconsin goes outside its usual recruiting territory to land under-the-radar athlete Deron Harrell from Denver

Venturing into the Rocky Mountains in the final weeks of the 2016 recruiting period, Wisconsin found an under-recruited athlete in Denver East prospect Deron Harrell who can help the program in a variety of ways. BadgerNation breaks down the commitment impact.

Committed Over: Denver East athlete Deron Harrell committed to Wisconsin over scholarship interest from Air Force, Colorado State, Hawaii, Utah State, San Diego State and others.

Rated: Harrell is rated a two-star prospect by Scout.com.

On Film: When you start watching the film on Harrell, the word “how” comes to mind, as in “how did some school not offer this kid a scholarship offer?” Harrell has a lot of the raw intangibles that makes a solid college football player. He’s 6-3 and runs a 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, two things right there that intrigued Wisconsin for a player projected to play cornerback.

Like many of the best players on a high school team, Harrell played quarterback in addition to his role on defense. As the team’s QB, Harrell ran a lot out of the pistol formation to take advantage of his open-field speed, finishing the year with 1,400 passing yards, 400 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns responsible for. He also led the team with three interceptions. The year before he played receiver and cornerback for the first time.

Receiver might be Harrell’s more natural position, as he’s got great hands, moves well and can deliver yards after the catch. He also looks like he has a future at cornerback with his big frame, long arms, ability to get in and out of breaks and cover a lot of ground. His athleticism is evident and is reinforced with his ability on the basketball court. More importantly is that he’ll develop, which is great news for Wisconsin.

Recruiting Impact: As it stands right now, Wisconsin has 15 scholarships available for the 2017 recruiting, a number that will almost certainly go up over the next year. The addition of Harrell, who will grayshirt in 2016 and enroll in 2017, gives the Badgers three used scholarships in that cycle, joining four-star offensive lineman Kayden Lyles and recently committed in-state defensive end Aaron Vopal.

Wisconsin is losing two scholarship receivers (Reggie Love (who has been getting some tight end work) and Rob Wheelwright) and one cornerback (Sojourn Shelton), so Harrell has the ability to fit in at either spot depending on how he develops over the course of the next year.

Quotable: “This was the opportunity I had been waiting for for a long time, and I was just hopeful that Wisconsin would offer me on this visit. Good things happened for me. I just loved the atmosphere of being around the coaches and the players. They were all great people, along with the students. It made it a fun place to be at.” – Deron Harrell

Final Thought: The son of former Florida State wide receiver Damian Harrell, Deron Harrell is a versatile athlete that fills a number of niches for Wisconsin. He has a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and runs well, good size that can matchup with any cornerback or with any receiver and plenty of raw skills. There’s no question he needs to develop but this commitment upgrades the athleticism on UW’s roster. Kudos to tight end coach Mickey Turner for going to a non-traditional recruiting territory to find a prospect that could really help the program down the road.

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