BadgerNation examines the commitment impact of inside linebacker Jack Sanborn to Wisconsin's 2018 recruiting class

Wisconsin beat out multiple Midwest programs for inside linebacker Jack Sanborn, but how big of a commitment is it for the Badgers' 2018 recruiting class? We break down the commitment impact.

Committed Over: Lake Zurich (Ill.) High inside linebacker Jack Sanborn committed to Wisconsin over Power-Five conference offers from Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.

Rated: Sanborn is rated a three-star prospect by

On Film: Sanborn should flourish in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense. He plays in a similar system in high school and shows excellent instincts at the position. He runs to the ball well and does a good job of taking on blocks, fighting his way through the wash and getting to the ball. He has the athleticism to avoid blockers, but also uses technique to take on and shed blockers. That ability should only improve as he gets stronger.

At 6-2 and 210 pounds, he has to add some weight and strength, but says that is a focus of his offseason. He is a kid who, no matter where the ball goes, he is there. He does not overrun plays or get fooled by misdirection. He plays fast but under control and is your classic middle linebacker. – National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu

Recruiting Story: Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin all stopped in to do background research on Sanborn last April, but Iowa State because the first school to extend him a scholarship offer.

“It was an experience that I will never forget as it was something I dreamed of since I was a little kid,” Sanborn said after the offer. “Obviously, my family was just as excited as I was but I feel like they were a little shocked that I got offered so early as a sophomore.”

Iowa entered with a scholarship two months later and the beginning of September saw Duke give a scholarship and Notre Dame, Penn State, Syracuse and many others start to enter the picture with mail and contact. Wisconsin finally pulled the trigger in September.

“I know it is a great academic school and is also a very good athletic school,” Sanborn said at the time. “I have been to Wisconsin once when I was younger and I remember that it is a great campus. I have heard the atmosphere and fan base around the campus is amazing.”

Sanborn had made game-day trips to Northwestern and Notre Dame but his mid-October visit to Madison for the Ohio State night game made a lasting impact.

“The atmosphere of Camp Randall [stood out],” he said. “I knew it was going to be electric since it was such a huge game, but it blew away my expectations. It was amazing.”

Due to his proximity on being two hours from campus, Sanborn returned for a bowl practice prior to Wisconsin departing for the Cotton bowl, which gave him a new perspective and made him appreciate how the coaches and the players interacted with one another.

It appeared like the recruiting battle would come between Wisconsin and Iowa, especially since Sanborn visited Iowa City for a third time earlier this month. Expecting to make a decision this summer, Sanborn surprised many people when he committed early … although the pick of the Badgers was far from shocking.

Recruiting Impact: Recruited by Wisconsin as an inside linebacker, a position that appears tailor made for him, Wisconsin now has Sanborn and Waukesha Catholic Memorial’s C.J. Goetz committed to be the inside tandem of the future. Will the Badgers add more inside linebackers? Doubtful, unless they are pretty special.

One of those players would be Kenny Bastida, who had the Badgers in his early top three last summer and was at LSU last weekend and headed to Florida next weekend. He wants to decide by the start of his season.

As for outside linebackers, UW already has Menomonee’s Mason Platter committed and the Badgers class isn’t a big one. Plantation (FL) American Heritage outside linebacker Calvin Hart Jr. told Scout that Wisconsin is his front runner, but there are no other backers who currently appear like strong favorites to be in the class.


Final Thought: Football runs in Sanborn’s family (his dad played at Oregon) and the new Wisconsin commit has had a productive high school career, including having 77 tackles (14 for loss) last season. The Badgers have done exceptionally well recruiting linebackers out of northern Illinois. Two of them – senior Garret Dooley and junior T.J. Edwards – will likely be starting this season. With his skill set and intangibles, there’s no reason to think Sanborn won’t follow in their footsteps of becoming a productive player and leader in the Badgers’ defense.

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