With eight players already committed in the 2018 recruiting class, Wisconsin appears to have the bulk of its recruiting work done with nine months to go until national signing day.
The Badgers will likely only have 13 scholarship seniors (D’Cota Dixon and Rafael Gaglianone will likely be granted a medical redshirt), meaning that the coaching staff – barring attrition – only has to fill five more spots.
Taking a look at where things stand with each position on the recruiting trail over the next week, we next take a look at the receivers.
Editor’s Note: Not all prospects who have offers from Wisconsin are listed
Where Things Currently Stand
For the first time in the last six seasons, Wisconsin had a player lead the team in receiving yards who was given a scholarship to play receiver out of high school. Unfortunately for the Badgers’ long-term future, that player – Jazz Peavy - is going into his senior season. Additionally, his 635 receiving yards is the lowest for a leading receiver since 2008, but it does represent a step in the right direction.
To brace the impact of losing two receivers in both 2016 and 2017, the Badgers have signed six receivers the last two recruiting cycles. Wisconsin receivers coach Ted Gilmore has gushed about Texas three-star prospects Cade Green and Emmet Perry (who both won state titles at their respective schools in December), and he feels like the staff hit the jackpot with the three-man class of Quintez Cephus, Kendric Pryor and A.J. Taylor. The group got even better when four-star prospect Danny Davis picked the Badgers on national signing day. UW currently doesn’t have any scholarship receivers who will be redshirt juniors or redshirt sophomores in 2017, so the Badgers will likely only need one (maybe two) in 2018.
One of the most recent offers from Wisconsin, Anderson comes from a region that the Badgers landed Jack Coan, their 2017 quarterback commit 13 months ago. With a majority of his offers having a heavy East Coast presence (Boston College, Maryland, NC State, Rutgers, Virginia, etc), Anderson said in late March that Maryland, Rutgers and Temple were recruiting him the hardest and that play safety at the next level is also a possibility.
“I honestly want to play on offense,” Anderson said. “If I have the opportunity to play offense and defense, that would be great.”
Wisconsin has to move quickly, as Anderson has a strong connection to Rutgers and says he will make his decision in late May or early June.
Jumping into the mix with an offer a year ago, Craddieth is one of the top prospects in the St. Louis region. He’s also one of Gilmore’s top prospects, considering UW’s receivers coach is spearheading the recruitment. Many schools are looking at him as a safety, but Gilmore has been mainly talking receiver. Craddieth likely would have received more clarity and got an in-depth look at the Badgers had he been able to make their spring game, but travel issues prevented that. Still, UW is a place he wants to see before narrowing his list or making a decision since the Badgers continue to stand out among his 18 offers.
“Wisconsin was pretty big, that was a big offer for me,” Craddieth said. "Wisconsin, they are a good team, so that is just real big to me and they was an early offer, so they saw something out of me since I was a sophomore.”
Sticking in the region that gave Wisconsin Coan, Cruickshank is an intriguing process because of his skill set, track speed (22.08 seconds in the 200 meters) and his raw ability at receiver. Wisconsin's coaching staff has talked to Cruickshank about being a difference maker.
“They run a pro-style offense,” he said. “They like to run the ball but also like to get the ball to their play makers. I like to be a part of that type of offense.”
There are several Big Ten schools after Cruickshank, including Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. Cruickshank said at the beginning of March that the Badgers and Virginia were his top two schools because they were strong academically and were both different from each other, but said at the beginning of the month that he didn’t have any favorites until he was able to go on some visits.
Wisconsin does its best wide receiver recruiting when they get in early on an under-the-radar receiver and he either stays under the radar or remembers the Badgers were one of his first big offers. Wisconsin fits in the latter category with Harris, who has size and athleticism that translates to being a receiver/kick return in football and a talented basketball player.
“Coach Jeff Duckworth was the first coach from Wisconsin I spoke to,” Harris said about the offer. “It felt amazing just knowing how much hard work pays off. It just felt great getting it.”
Since then, Harris has picked up Big Ten offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers and other notable offers from Cincinnati and West Virginia. Ohio State is also starting to show stronger interest.
Harris has yet to really start taking visits to come out with a list of favorites.
“I think I'm a player that is a leader and very athletic, so I can play all over the field for my team,” Harris stated. “As a receiver, my athleticism helps me so much but I'm also a good route runner. I'm working this off season on getting bigger in the weight room, because I have the speed and quickness.”
A big receiver from Woodson, a school Wisconsin hit hard with offers in the spring, Hendrix made recent visits to Syracuse, Temple, Maryland (the school recruiting him the hardest), Clemson, North Carolina and NC State. He said he plans to make more visits later this spring and in the summer, but nothing is scheduled.
Hendrix has no leaders, says his top list is going to come this summer and his decision will be made after several official visits in the fall.
Wisconsin tight end coach Mickey Turner had been in contact with Obasi's coach previously, so the 6-1 receiver knew the Badgers were interested. But when his scholarship offer came in late March, Obasi was impressed with Turner’s approach.
“Coach Turner came straight to the point, 'you’re the guy that I want and I want to offer you a scholarship,'” Obasi said. “Wisconsin brings the educational and athletic experience into it. I know it’s a huge school.”
Finishing last season with approximately 52 catches for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, Obasi said schools are recruiting him as a receiver who can play multiple positions on the field.
“My biggest advantage is coaches don’t know whether to put me at the slot or the outside receiver,” Obasi said. “Along with my skills, a 6-1 (and) 175-pound receiver has to be quick enough to play slot to run the curls. At the same time I can also play outside and run a post, a fly or just catch screens and go. Coaches like that I’m versatile and what I bring to the table.”
Since Wisconsin offered, Obasi has picked up Power Five scholarships from Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
Saying he “definitely” will take officials, Obasi plans to decide either in the middle of his senior football season or right before the conclusion.
Calling it a true blessing being able to be in touch with Wisconsin, Remigio picked up his Badgers offer in February, adding that it was an incredible program.
“The offer is a reminder of where my skill level is at, as well as where it needs to be,” Remigio said. “Wisconsin, being one of the best teams in the country, shows me where the bar is set and how it is so important for me to get better every day in order to be able to compete at such a high level.”
Citing academics being an important part of his decision, hoping to major in business, Remigio said Arizona, Navy, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin are the schools talking to him the most. He also added that he has yet to visit any of those schools and offers from California, UCLA or USC wouldn’t guarantee him staying in state.
The Badgers also have an edge in their ability to develop N.F.L. talent.
“Absolutely a plus,” he said. “My dream is definitely to go to the NFL, but my main focus for now is winning a national championship.”
How tough is it for Wisconsin to recruit wide receivers? The Badgers have 10 known offers out to kids in the Scout 300 and none are seriously considering them. Wisconsin also doesn’t appear to be in great standing with many prospects from the talent-rich areas of Florida, Texas and Washington D.C, although there are a few exceptions here and there.
The one thing we’ve seen with Gilmore is he finds late bloomers and under-the-radar talent. He did it with Cephus in 2016 and again with Perry in 2017. I say there’s a decent chance UW lands someone on this list, but more than likely is that it won’t be someone considered among the best in the country right now.