Signing day 2006 – Position analysis

A position-by-position look at who will sign today and where they could fit in as Badgers

The following analysis focuses primarily on Wisconsin's needs and where true freshmen could fit into the depth. It is whimsical to try to predict exactly how a high school prospect, no matter what their ranking, will adapt to college football. Who is ready physically, mentally? Who will adjust the best to their college position coaches? Who will find he right fit quickly in UW's schemes? Only time will tell. This analysis simply strives to provide a context for this season's recruits, and what may be asked of them.


Recruits: Scott Tolzien (Rolling Meadows, Ill.), Maurice Moore (Everman, Texas)

The skinny: Tolzien and Moore are two very different quarterback prospects. Most programs wanted Moore to play wide receiver or cornerback and he very well could end up at one of those positions down the road, but the athlete with a self-reported 4.38 40-yard dash time will begin his Badger career as a signal-caller. Tolzien, by contrast, is a drop-back passer who relies on fundamentals and decision making.

Both are developmental prospects, but that suits Wisconsin's needs. With John Stocco heading into his third year as a starter and Tyler Donovan and Dustin Sherer around to back him up, Tolzien and Moore will redshirt.


Recruit: Lance Smith (Warren, Ohio)

The skinny: Smith is a highly regarded prospect, one of the top 50 running back prospects in the nation. And yet he may very well be underrated.'s Chris Pools feels Smith is the best tailback in the state of Ohio. And that includes Chris Wells. In addition to being a strong runner with good speed, Smith has the potential to be a fine pass receiver out of the backfield.

Smith will likely have an opportunity to compete immediately. With Brian Calhoun off to the NFL and Booker Stanley likely off the team for off-the-field reasons, tailback is wide open in 2006.

Still, redshirt freshman P.J. Hill, Dion Foster and Jerry Butler have a year of development on Smith and junior Jamil Walker and senior walk-on Dywon Rowan will have this spring to establish their roles. It is always precarious to forecast a freshman receiving early playing time, but Smith has a good chance of doing just that.

As good as Smith is purported to be as a tailback, he could also play linebacker or defensive back in college.

Tight end

Recruit: Mickey Turner (Camdenton, Mo.)

The skinny: The Badgers' top three tight ends last season were seniors, and there is not a single scholarship player at this position who will be a junior or senior in 2006. But with four or five other scholarship players here, depending on what position Travis Beckum ends up playing, it is unlikely that Turner plays early.

Kirk DeCremer is expected to begin his Badger career at defensive end, but he could switch to tight end down the road.

Wide receivers

Recruits: Lance Kendricks (Milwaukee), Isaac Anderson (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Xavier Harris (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Daven Jones (Cleveland)

The skinny: The Badgers must replace their top three receivers from 2005, all of whom were seniors, and there are indications that UW under Bret Bielema will employ more three-receiver sets. So the demand at this position for early playing time from true freshman could be high.

Kendricks is the top ranked-receiver in the Midwest, an excellent athlete who could compete immediately. Anderson has elite speed. Jones adds talented depth at the position. Harris, like Anderson, has very good speed and was extremely productive in high school. He could play early.

Three players recruited as athletes could also end up at receiver: Niles Brinkley, Diondre Jenkins and Josh Nettles.

Jenkins is an excellent athlete with good ball skills who will almost certainly redshirt and develop. Brinkley is probably destined to play corner, but could get a look here and as a return specialist. Nettles was a jack-of-all trades type, but it seems most likely at this point that he ends up somewhere on offense because of his playmaking ability. Tailback is another possibility.

Offensive line

Recruits: Jake Bscherer (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.), Gabe Carimi (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Bill Nagy (Hudson, Ohio), Brad Thorson (Mequon, Wis.).

The skinny: Wisconsin needed to add quality depth along the offensive line and appears to have done just that. Bscherer and Carimi received All-American honors, Nagy is a highly regarded prospect in his own right and Thorson is a up-and-coming ‘late bloomer'. John Moffitt, another well regarded recruit, could end up here or at defensive tackle.

Bscherer and Carimi both look like basketball players more than offensive tackles and have very good feet and athletic ability. They will likely be groomed to play left and right tackle, respectively. Nagy has exceptional strength (400-pound bench press) and could be a real find at guard.

Wisconsin would probably like to redshirt all of its offensive linemen and let them develop, but the program may be forced to play one or two of them in some capacity immediately, because of a lack of veteran depth at the positions.

Defensive line

Recruits: Brandon Hoey (Shoreview, Minn.), John Moffitt (West Haven, Conn.), Kirk DeCremer (Verona, Wis.), Ricky Garner (Pasadena, Calif.)

The skinny: Wisconsin has tons of depth at both tackle and end, so expect all of these players to redshirt, unless the Badgers suffer another rash of injuries or one of these prospects proves to be a Matt Shaughnessy-like talent.

Hoey is an athletic 285-pound tackle prospect. Moffitt could end up at offensive tackle or guard, but will likely start out at defensive tackle.

DeCremer is a really good athlete who is very physical. Depending on how he develops, he could end up at tackle, but will likely begin as an end.

Garner was very productive in high school and has good speed numbers (self-reported 4.5 40-yard dash). He is slight at 225 pounds, but he hopes to come into UW at 240 and the Badgers have done well with smaller ends like Jamal Cooper and Matt Shaughnessy. If Garner becomes a mere shadow of those players he will be a productive college end.


The skinny: Wisconsin did not recruit any players directly for linebacker, after bringing in four that stuck at the position last year. But safety prospect Culmer St. Jean could end up here, as could tailback prospect Lance Smith or defensive end prospect Ricky Garner.


Recruits: Kim Royston (Minneapolis), Jamathan Ingram-Lyle (Boulder, Colo.), Jay Valai (Colleyville, Texas), Culmer St. Jean (Naples, Fla.).

The skinny: Sophomores Jack Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford are established as UW's top corners, but there should be room for a true freshman or two to emerge in the depth behind them. With four seniors at the top of the depth at safety, however, and talented sophomore Aubrey Pleasant and Shane Carter emerging, there will be little demand for a freshman safety to play early, unless he can help on special teams immediately.

Several recruits could begin their careers at corner. Royston, Ingram-Lyle and Valai were recruited primarily for the position, and athletes Niles Brinkley and Josh Nettles could also end up there.

UW head coach Bret Bielema likes to try players at the highest skill level position that they could conceivably play at, so do not be surprised to see St. Jean have a trial at corner as well. St. Jean will likely end up at safety, but if he can handle corner it would be a coup at his size (6-1, 215).

Valai and Brinkley could also end up at safety.

Nettles more likely will play offense, but could end up at corner or safety.

Diondre Jenkins will most likely end up at wide receiver, but with his athletic ability and ball skills, he could develop into a very good free safety as well.

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