Committed Over: Milan (MI) High School offensive tackle Michael Furtney committed to Wisconsin over 20+ offers, including Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and others.
Rated: Furtney is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com
On Film: Furtney gets off the ball well with good initial quickness and pad level. Generally moves around the field very easily and with good coordination for his size. A leaner framed kid, Furtney has added bulk in the offseason and is beginning to fill in more. Shows good bend, overall agility and coordination and does well in space. Looks to finish and plays to the whistle. Still needs to keep filling in, get stronger and continue to polish pass pro technique. Does not play great competition at the high school level, so he may need a year or two (to develop) but definitely has the tools and very good upside. – Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu.
Recruiting Story: After an impressive showing at the Elite Big Man Camp in February 2016, Furtney earned his first offer from Eastern Michigan and had a number of schools reach out to try to get him on campus. Wisconsin wasn’t one of them, as the Badgers’ interest in him started to grow over the previous summer.
Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Princeton, Toledo and Western Michigan had offered by October, and Furtney was getting increased interest from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State. Invited back to Madison for Wisconsin’s junior day in late January, Furtney – who was without a Badgers offer at the time – became enthralled with what the campus had to offer.
“My visit to Wisconsin was awesome," he said at the time. “Campus and Camp Randall are one of my favorite places to visit. The football facilities at Wisconsin are amazing and Madison is a great city. I was very fortunate to talk with all of the coaches. I spent most of my time with the offensive coordinator, Coach Rudolph. I did get to spend some time with Coach Chryst also. They tell me that their interest level is very high and they are trying to get to know me better as a person.”
That visit evidently impressed the coaching staff, as Wisconsin offered him a scholarship a week later. It was his 13th offer and first from the Big Ten. Missouri, Minnesota and Fresno State followed the next day, Connecticut the day after that and seven Power Five conference offers came in February.
Over a five-day stretch in late February, Furtney visited Vanderbilt, Missouri, Iowa State, Minnesota and went back to Wisconsin again. He made more stops at Indiana and Michigan State, the latter coming through with a scholarship last weekend.
Wanting to make a spring decision, Furtney kept coming back to his time at Wisconsin and the relationship he had developed so early with the staff. He especially pointed to his conversations with head coach Paul Chryst, the first coach from a major program to believe in him enough to give him a scholarship.
“He (Chryst) is such a down to earth guy,” Furtney said after his February visit. “He seems like a great person who really cares about his players. I talked to some of the players about their relationship with him and they all talked about how awesome he was.”
Realizing that the Badgers were the place for him, Furtney piled his family into the car, drove back to Wisconsin and delivered his commitment in person during the first day of the Badgers’ spring football practice. That decision brought hugs from the coaching staff and handshakes from UW’s offensive linemen.
Recruiting Impact: It wouldn’t be a shock if Furtney was the only offensive lineman Wisconsin signs in the 2018 class. The Badgers don’t have a senior scholarship lineman on their current roster and signed four top-end players last year. And considering this will be a scholarship class in the high teens, UW can start to focus its attention to positions that are of greater need.
However, it’d be silly to think Wisconsin didn’t continue to monitor and recruit other players. The Badgers have known offers out to four other offensive linemen and sit the best with Philadelphia’s Justin Johnson, who just put the Badgers in his top eight.
Quote: “Wisconsin is an amazing school, especially for linemen … The coaching staff is awesome, their facilities are just great and their history and tradition is top notch.” - Furtney
Final Thought: Schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State have dominated the recruiting landscape in the state of Michigan, scooping up all the top talent and forcing schools like Wisconsin to go elsewhere. That’s no longer the case. Starting with Wisconsin landing four-star David Moorman three cycles ago, UW nabbed safety Scott Nelson away from Michigan and Michigan State last year and safety Reggie Pearson and Furtney away from the Spartans this year. Don’t underestimate how significant that is.
At only 16 years old, the 6-5, 285-pound Furtney is only going to continue to grow, fill out and develop. Throw in his 3.9 grade point average, it’s a fair assumption he’ll pick things up rather quickly. If he indeed the only lineman UW takes, the Badgers nabbed a really talented one who has all the intangibles for a UW lineman.