Committed Over: Madison (WI) Memorial tight end Jake Ferguson committed to Wisconsin over offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Northern Illinois. He also was receiving interest from Alabama and Notre Dame. Austin (TX) Lake Travis receiver Cade Green committed over offers from Bowling Green, Illinois, North Texas, Penn and Texas State.
Rated: Ferguson is rated a three-star prospect and the No.1 tight end in Wisconsin, No.9 in the Midwest and No.29 in the country by Scout.com. Green is not currently rated but will likely be a three-star prospect at the next update.
On Film: Ferguson is a good athlete who plays multiple sports. He has good body control, natural hand-eye coordination, ball skills and leaping ability. He has lined up all over the field for Memorial, playing receiver, lining up in the backfield, playing some outside linebacker and is the team’s punter. He runs solid routes and is willing to block. His toughness stands out, as he does a lot of little things that don’t always show up. He must get bigger and stronger but can easily grow into a tight end role. I could see him following a similar career path to Jacob Pedersen. Defense wouldn't be out of the question either as an outside guy in the Badgers' 3-4. – National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu
Green is just a good all-around football player and was a key cog in a prolific offense that made it all the way to the state title game in 2015. He is a versatile weapon who is moved around to do different things. Projecting to the next level, he will be a good fit in the slot. They find different ways to get him the ball on the high school level because of his quickness. – National Recruiting Analyst Greg Powers.
Recruiting Impact: Wisconsin wasn’t in a dire need of a tight end in 2017. Troy Fumagalli is going into his junior season and the Badgers have three players – David Edwards, Jake Hescock and Kyle Penniston – who are redshirt freshmen or younger. But having a connection with a talented, multi-tooled player like Ferguson, Wisconsin couldn’t pass him up.
With four receivers set to graduate in the next two years, rebuilding the receiving corps with quality players is another high priority for Wisconsin. Depending on how scholarship numbers shake out, the Badgers could add 1-2 more receiver prospects.
Of the group currently with known offers, Bedford (OH) three-star Trent Cloud has the Badgers as his leader and there appears to be a wide gap between UW and the rest of the schools. He still reportedly has some work to do in the classroom but it’s not insurmountable. UW continues to covet four-star prospect Ricky Smalling out of Chicago; Arlington (TX) Oakridge three-star Bronson Boyd is a player who could give the Badgers a serious look and Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas three-star Michael Harley Jr. said UW is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest and wants to visit.
Quotable: “When I got to practice, the coaches made me feel like family. When I watched practice, there was a lot of competition between the guys and a lot of drive to be better. That really caught my eye. At that moment, I kind of knew, yeah, I wanted to be a Badger, and I wanted to play here.” – Ferguson
“I had an idea that (me committing) was going to happen before I came, but just being here and meeting all the coaches really made me love it." – Green
Final Thought: It always seemed like a question of when, not if, Ferguson was going to commit to Wisconsin, so getting his recruitment over with is another big in-state score for the Badgers. Ferguson has a great football mentality, which shows with his dedication to playing multiple positions on the field – and playing them well – to help his team. Ferguson fits the tight end mold for the Badgers and could really blossom once he starts focusing full time on just that position on the field and in the weight room. A fearless leader, Ferguson stood out when I saw him live and is only scratching the surface of his potential.
Wisconsin had a tremendously difficult time under Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen recruiting scholarship receivers who could make an impact, having many more flame outs than success stories. Paul Chryst made an emphasis last recruiting cycle on getting athletic, versatile players who have tremendous work ethics. Green fits that mold, having put a lot of time and energy in his game to go from a possession receiver to a down-field threat. He plays for one of the top high school programs in Texas and getting him committed early is a big steal.
Wisconsin likes to think the program gets better every time it lands a new commitment. It’s easy to see the Badgers got a lot better Thursday.