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 defensive backs.
Editor’s Note: Not all prospects who have offers from Wisconsin are listed
Where Things Currently Stand
Wisconsin made a strong commitment to boosting the numbers in its young secondary in 2016 and 2017. The Badgers signed two cornerbacks and three safeties two years ago and signed another three defensive backs in 2017, including a late safety commit in Scott Nelson to bolster the depth at safety. The Badgers quickly addressed that safety need in 2018 with two early commitments from River Rouge (MI) High’s Reggie Pearson and Menasha (WI) High’s Trent Ingalls.
Pearson is touted as a physical prospect who is a good tackler, meaning he’ll likely follow in the steps of D’Cota Dixon at strong safety. He finished his junior year with 120 tackles, six pass break-ups and seven interceptions. Ingalls is a 6-1 speed guy who is a solid athlete. He’s a little undersized in terms of his weight now, but he has good ball skills and could translate into a good free safety.
Barring a dynamic play maker entering the fold, Wisconsin is done recruiting safeties, so the Badgers will get to turn all of their attention on cornerbacks.
Braswell was in attendance for the Ohio State-Wisconsin game and left saying the Badgers were his leader over offers from Florida Atlantic and Kentucky. The Badgers and Kentucky remain his only Power Five conference offers.
“The coaching staff was talking about how they love Florida defensive backs, and how we can come in young and start early,” Braswell said. “They love physical and aggressive cornerbacks that are discipline. I can come fit right in.”
Having secured many of the big East Coast offers and handful of notable ACC offers, Flythe has seen Maryland make him a priority target and have him on campus a number of times through the early parts of the process. He has also visited Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Virginia. This summer Flythe said he would like to visit Wisconsin and take a possible trek to the West Coast if some Pac-12 schools extend offers.
“I don’t have any top schools or bottom schools,” Flythe said, saying he would like to commit before his senior season and take some officials in the fall. “I’m pretty much open. I’m not looking for any offers, but if more come in I’ll look at them and see what they’re about.”
Miller currently has offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, Southern Miss, Toledo and Western Michigan. He says he definitely wants to visit Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Miami and Wisconsin this summer.
“I am looking for a program where I have good communication with the coaches,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter how far away I go from home because I want to explore new things. Academically I want to major in either business or something in the medical field.”
Wisconsin was already one of White’s top schools when the South Carolina athlete didn’t have any scholarship offers (based in large part of his fall unofficial visit), but the Badgers became in favorite when they offered him in January. The Citadel has also offered, but While has really developed a strong bond to the Badgers and their coaching staff.
Finishing last season with about 2,000 all-purpose yards, 26 touchdowns, one interception and roughly 20 tackles, White again visited in April for a spring practice.
“They look at me like Jabrill Peppers,” White said, referring to the former Michigan athlete. “If they get an explosive person, (Coach Leonhard and Coach Settle) said they want him playing both sides of the football. He said they want a game changer, and I can do that. I can play both sides of the ball if that’s what they want me to do.”
Williams is a legacy recruit with Minnesota but his unofficial visit to Madison a day after Thanksgiving left a big impact with him, calling it awesome and showing him a “whole different environment.” Therefore it wasn’t a shock to see Williams put the Badgers in the top 10 that he released in mid-April, joining Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
Williams has been timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.43 and appears to be a high priority target for defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jim Leonhard.
“We text mostly every week or every other week,” Williams said of Leonhard, previously. “We try to stay in touch. He’s loyal and he knows the game from playing in the League for 10 years and coming back to coach up players he wants to get to another level. I love Jim Leonhard.”
Wisconsin made early impressions on players like Louisville four-star Jarius Brents (who visited last fall for the Ohio State game) but the Badgers aren’t likely to reel in top 300 cornerbacks from outside their region. Looking at the numbers it would make sense for Wisconsin to take at least one cornerback, possibly two. White seems like he’s strongly trending for the Badgers based on the fact that he’s paid his own way twice to UW. Williams would be a huge score and continues to talk highly about the Badgers coming off his visit in the fall. Braswell and Miller appear like secondary options right now.