BadgerNation takes a look at Wisconsin's early recruiting efforts of tight ends

Over the next week, BadgerNation will take an early look at the 2018 recruiting class at each position. Today we look at the tight ends.

With college football currently in the recruiting dead period until mid-January, the University of Wisconsin can sit back and be pleased with its efforts in 2017.

Wisconsin has 15 known verbal commits for this upcoming class and will have at least six enrolling in less than a month. And considering the Badgers had 10 commits by the beginning of May, the Wisconsin coaching staff has been able to focus primarily on the 2018 recruiting class.

By our projections Wisconsin has 15 scholarships to hand out in 2018 and we’ll look at each position over the next week.

Next up is the tight ends.

Editor’s Note: Not all prospects who have offers from Wisconsin are listed

Where Things Currently Stand

It’s no secret that tight end is a critical position for Wisconsin’s offense, considering the Badgers often use multiple tight end sets and demand a lot from the group in terms of run and pass blocking and pass catching. UW was thin at the position entering the season, part of the reason why Zander Neuville was switched from defensive end and true freshman Jake Hescock was an injury away from playing.

Even with Eric Steffes graduating after this season and top target Troy Fumagalli after next, UW appears to be in better position moving into 2017 and beyond, as the offensive coaching staff has some good talent in the room and will add a top-20 tight end nationally in Jake Ferguson this year.

Top Prospects

One of the top 2018 prospects in the country at his position, Trenton Gillison features great size and above average athletic ability at the position, and his play took a big leap forward this season. Wisconsin is one of his 16 offers, but he said in late November that Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Tennessee are the schools currently sticking out to him.

One of the top players in the entire 2018 class, Jeremy Ruckert had 58 catches for 807 yards and eight touchdowns. A true sign of his athleticism and versatility, he had 51 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions on defense and went 6-for-7 on his field goal attempts. Ruckert has cut his list to 13 - Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee and Wisconsin – and has taken a handful of visits, but he has yet to see Wisconsin.

A solid blocking prospect for his age, George Takacs is being recruited by tight end coach Mickey Turner, a sign that the Badgers are high on him if Turner is going outside of his recruiting region to personally recruit him. UW coaches visited him earlier this month at his school, as well. He’s originally from Indianapolis and has only been in Naples for three years, so a move back to the cooler temperatures of the Midwest is a possibility.

Way-too-early prediction

Takacs appears to be the most likely candidate of the three mentioned, which isn’t saying much considering Gillison has UW down on his list and Ruckert appears to be targeting bigger named schools. Even so, Takacs has already taken Midwest visits and considers Wisconsin a top program in the country. The Badgers will likely have to duke it out with Florida (already offered) and some of the other bigger schools in the state.

UW will have five tight ends on the roster after 2017, so it’s not necessary that the Badgers take a tight end in this class, but the Badgers will certainly add a high-valued prospect if they can land one.

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