Off to a torrid start with its 2017 recruiting class, Wisconsin has addressed many critical positions for its future, except the defensive backfield.
Needing to rebuild the position’s depth, even after signing seven defensive backs in 2016, defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard and tight end coach Mickey Turner has shifted their attention to Detroit Jesuit safety Scotty Nelson.
“They really want me,” Nelson told BadgerNation after Wisconsin offered him Thursday. “I want to go somewhere where they want me and Wisconsin has that … Coach Leonhard is my main recruiter. He is a great guy and easy to have conversations with. He is better than most of other coaches I talk to.”
The Detroit region has become a focal point for head coach Paul Chryst on the recruiting landscape, even though the Badgers have never really hit pay dirt in the region. Before Wisconsin landed four-star tackle David Moorman in the 2015 class, the Badgers hadn’t signed a player from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula since 2009.
But with Wisconsin having gone to the Rose Bowl three times in the last six years, the 6-2, 190-pound Nelson recognizes the program has tradition.
“They have a great reputation,” Nelson said. “The coaches are fantastic. They really like me, and I like them. I want to be a part of a family and Wisconsin has that feel already … Wisconsin has a great tradition and is a powerhouse school. I remember watching them in Rose Bowl as I grew up, and I would love to be a part of something like that.”
Rated a three-star prospect and the No.36 safety in the country by Scout.com, Nelson already holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State, among others.
“I define my game as someone who is agile, big and can play four downs,” Nelson said. “I need to work on my speed and strength but my IQ is very high I feel like.”
While hopeful, Nelson is not determined to make his decision before the start of his senior season. Planning to visit more campuses over the summer to help him narrow his focus, Nelson is excited to put Madison on his list of destinations.
“I love Wisconsin,” Nelson said. “They're definitely on my radar and at top of my list. I can't wait to visit.”
- BadgerNation's Bobby Kutz contributed to this report