Wisconsin lands its first in-state prospect in the 2017 class in DePere defensive end Aaron Vopal

One of a handful of in-state prospects Wisconsin offered last Saturday, DePere (WI) defensive end Aaron Vopal was the first one to accept, announcing his commitment to the Badgers on Monday. BadgerNation breaks down the commitment impact.

Committed Over: DePere (WI) defensive end Aaron Vopal committed to Wisconsin over early scholarship offers from Buffalo, Iowa State and New Mexico.

Rated: Vopal is not currently ranked by Scout.com but projects to be a three-star prospect when the rankings are expanded.

On Film: Aaron is obviously a big kid. He has a tremendous frame on him and having played other sports too, he's a good athlete. The difference between 6-foot-8 kids who can play college football and those who can't is the ability to bend and move that big body and he can do it. He made a ton of plays as a junior, just a kid who always seemed to be around the action. Based on his height, offensive tackle is always a possibility, but I see him playing end in Wisconsin's system and being a good fit there. – National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu

Recruiting Impact: Losing only one scholarship defensive lineman after the 2016 season (Arthur Goldberg) and expected to ink three (Luke Benzschawel, Tyler Biadasz and Garrett Rand) on Wednesday, defensive line is not a huge priority in the 2016 class. In fact, the Badgers had been shooting for the moon at defensive end in 2017 – offering three Scout Top 300 prospects at the position from Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia (all long shots).

Vopal’s commitment keeps the Badgers’ presence in-state high and brings in a solid player who could even morph into an offensive lineman. UW might try to snag another defensive end in 2017 but it doesn't become as high of priority now with Vopal now in the mix.

Quotable: “It was a huge weight off my shoulders because this offer wasn’t just another offer. The coaches took their time and did their homework on me. They took time to talk to my high school coach, they took the time to watch me practice and come to my school. I think they talked to my coach five-six times before they offered. It was a huge honor.” - Aaron Vopal

Final Thought: This opportunity meant so much to Vopal, evident by how passionately he spoke about what the Wisconsin experience means to him. It’s always smart when a Wisconsin coach starts recruiting in-state first and moves out from there, so Paul Chryst securing Vopal was smart early on. I’m always a big fan of the in-state kids who play multiple sports. In this case, Vopal averages 9.2 points on his school’s basketball team. When he channels that athleticism into one sport and gets in a college weight room, there’s no telling where he could go.

If he stays on the defensive line, eight of the projected 10 scholarship defensive ends in Wisconsin’s program will be from the Badger State. That’s pretty darn cool.


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