Welcome to our all-day signing coverage! I am excited to be here, pioneering our wall-to-wall exclusive coverage of Wisconsin signing day. Combined with our April Recruiting Magazine, we have the best coverage of Wisconsin signing day anywhere in the country, something I am extremely proud.
A couple of things before we get going. I will be in the Insider Chat room until roughly 1:45 p.m., when I will head over to Camp Randall for head coach Bret Bielema's signing day coverage. Once there, we'll bring you interviews from Bielema, Wisconsin's assistant coaches and the four recruits that are already enrolled in Madison (kids you will read about shortly).
This is the ONLY live premium chat for Wisconsin football, so enjoy.
If you have a question or comment for me, be sure to visit the insider forum and visit our signing day thread. Go To Our Insider Signing Day Thread Here!
Are you ready? Cause I am ready to go! Let the fun begin!
Four players have already enrolled in Madison. For every recruit that notifies us that they have sent in the letters to Wisconsin, we'll give you a quick bio on each one of them.
Jordan Kohout, 6-4, 265, DT, Waupun, Wis. (Waupun)
A unanimous first team all conference defensive end as a junior, Kohout had 56 total tackles (10 for loss), four sacks, one fumble recovery and a 32-yard touchdown. Lauded for his speed off the ball, Kohout earned team MVP honors for his ability to take on and beat multiple blockers, a solid motor and will not give up on plays.
As a senior, Kohout accumulating 25 tackles and three sacks until a shoulder injury cut short his senior season. A talented defensive end at Waupun, Wisconsin will most likely move Kohout to the tackle position. As a result, he must work on his ability to play with leverage and add more weight and strength. Either way, the Badgers have a talented guy on their front line.
Jon Budmayr, 6-1, 195, QB, Marion, Ill. (Marion Catholic Central)
Considered one of the top quarterbacks in the Midwest, Budmayr has a state championship title under his belt and threw for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. Budmayr received his first offer from Wisconsin last June after the Badgers saw him perform at Purdue's Nike Camp and the Badgers never dropped off his radar.
In his first game of his senior season, however, Budmayr was rolling out to his right to pass and when he was hit just as he threw the ball, causing him to land directly on his right shoulder. To make matters worse, the defender who delivered the hit landed right on top of the quarterback and his ailing shoulder. The result was a broken collarbone, his second substantial injury in two seasons (Budmayr missed five games during his junior year because of a partially torn hamstring).
He's 100 percent healthy according to doctors and apparently has his full range of motion back.
Travis Frederick, 6-5, 302, OT, Walworth, Wis. (Big Foot)
Frederick is solid at getting to the second level and shows decent movement for a player his size and does a nice job of finishing blocks. Shows good strength and is a good run blocker who gets into his man and drives him. Without question, Frederick has toughness and dedication.
Breaking his arm in the last game of the regular season, Frederick hardly missed a beat or a chance to finish his senior year. Playing with a heavily-casted arm, Frederick convinced the doctors that he could play on the offensive line during the playoffs, a move that led Big Foot all the way to the Division 4 State Title game.
Frederick will play guard at Wisconsin because of his strong, solid stature that has the ability to run people over.
David Gilbert, 6-4, 220, DE, Oakland Park, Fla. (Northeast)
The first of three Florida players to commit to the Badgers, Gilbert recorded 57 tackles, nine sacks, eight tackles for a loss and blocked two field goal attempts in 2007 and spent the majority of the off season working on his size and speed.
Through the team's first five games of 2008, Gilbert already eclipsed the 30 tackle mark, using a combination of speed and athleticism to make the play.
"I like my pass rushing and getting to the quarterback," he said. "I am at a good size right now but I am going to get to campus early and start working out and get ready for spring and summer camp so I am ready by the fall. As far as size goes for playing defensive end, I know (size) is going to come and I am going to keep getting faster. I am faster today then I was during combine time. If I keep my speed up, which I will, and add size, I am going to be a good player and be ahead of the other incoming freshmen."
Our first official letter of intent has been sent in ...
Zac Matthias, 6-6, 305, OT, Hemlock, MI. (Hemlock)
A prospect with a lot of upside, Matthias has great size and is a very good athlete with good footwork. Matthias continuously gets to the second level and finishes his blocks. One area he can improve on is really exploding off the ball and continuing to work in the weight room and on technique will be key in his development as well. Matthias has all the abilities and characteristics, however, of being a starter for the Badgers in the next couple years.
Another Michigan man is in!
Jacob Pederson, 6-5, 213, TE, Menominee, MI. (Menominee)
The surprise of this year's class, Pederson wasn't on our radar until word broke that he committed to Wisconsin. When you dig deeper, it isn't surprising Pederson's name never came up, as the Upper Michigan product had no FCS offers. Even so, Pederson put up solid stats for the Maroons.
As a sophomore and junior, Pedersen played on teams that won state championships and was named to the all-state team his senior year. He finished his career with 19 touchdown receptions and also led the team in rushing as a senior after moving to tailback.
The last UW player from Menominee was Brett Pearson, who earned four letters from 1981 to '84. Jeff Messenger, from nearby Marinette, was an All-Big Ten Conference safety for the Badgers in 1993.
Pederson was recruited by Joe Rudolph.
Chris Borland told me he is signed, sealed, delivered and excited to go! He's number three.
Chris Borland, 6-0, 213, MLB, Kettering, OH. (Archbishop Alter)
With his dad growing up in Madison, having many family and friends in the state and watching and rooting for the Badgers every game on television, Chris Borland knew where he wanted to play college football. That reason alone was why he waited barely four hours to commit to the Badgers after receiving his scholarship.
Borland impressed Wisconsin's coaches with his versatility and ability to play multiple positions during UW's three-day summer camp earlier this week. During his junior year at Atler H.S., Borland was the team's punter, running back, wide receiver and kick returner. At running back, Borland averaged over 7.0 yards per carry, over 21.0 on kick returns and 37.0 yards per punt.
It's unclear now where Wisconsin is going to put him on the field, as he told Badger Nation he worked out as a fullback, tight end, linebacker and cornerback. Wherever he goes, Wisconsin is assured that they are getting a strong athlete, as Borland is fresh off leading his high school to an Ohio Division 4 State Title.
Borland was recruited by Rudolph.
As predicted, Kraig Appleton picks Wisconsin! Story is up on the main page where it will stay long into the day! A huge pickup for UW!
Now in ...
Montee Ball, 5-11, 204, RB, Wentzville, MO. (Timberland)
Named the 2008 Missouri Coaches Association Offensive Player of the Year, Ball finished his career with over 7100 yards and 88 career scores. In my opinion, Ball is the best player in the class and with the departure of P.J. Hill, Ball could seem time right away out of the backfield.
Ball rushed for 3,077 yards and 32 touchdowns during his junior year. He was named first team All-State, first team All-Metro, first team All-District, first team All-Conference, I.A.F.O. (Officials) Athlete of the Year and and St. Louis American Athlete of the Year.
During his sophomore year, Ball rushed for 1,845 on 297 carries, 15 touchdowns; 12 receptions for 149 yards. Defensively, Ball recorded 11 solo tackles, six assisted tackles, one sack.
A.J. Fenton, 6-2, 208, SLB, Eric, PA. (McDowell Senior)
Looking at his numbers, one would think A.J. Fenton was being recruited as a running back. As a junior, Fenton had 144 carries for 1,079 yards and 13 touchdowns in only seven games, as he missed portions of last season with a pulled hamstring, and was named First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region Six.
Although he only started one game on defense, registering seven tackles and one sack, Fenton's recruitment is taking off as a prototypical linebacker, which is the position he will play for Wisconsin.
Although his offensive numbers are impressive, Fenton is really looking forward to playing on the other side of the football at college.
"Yeah I am looking forward to it!" Fenton said with a laugh. "Who wouldn't be? A little challenge but it will be fun to switch it up and hit some people. I am definitely looking forward to that."
Josh Peprah, younger brother of Green Bay Packer Charlie Peprah, becomes the first Texas player (and hopefully not the last) to sign his LOI.
Josh Peprah, 5-11, 185, S, Plano, TX. (Plano East Senior)
A quick, physical player, Peprah has been lauded for his sound communication and physical play on the field. Much like his older brother, Charlie, who is working in the backfield for the Green Bay Packers, Josh has plenty of overall talent, running a 4.5 40 speed and possessing 35-inch vertical leap, a 250-pound max bench press and a 415-pound squat max.
I have just been notified that Jeff Duckworth has signed. That makes number eight (not including the already enrolled).
Jeff Duckworth, 6-0, 195, WR, Cincinnati, OH. (Princeton)
A pure receiver that runs crisp routes, makes solid catches and an intense physicality that will garner him many hard-fought first downs, Duckworth caught 62 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns during his junior year.
Duckworth in his senior season accumulated 52 catches for 800 yards and scored eight times while ending up with eight interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. Since his season ended, Duckworth has been working with a personal trainer to help fully prepared him for the grind of Big Ten football.
As Badger Nation has just learned (not a huge surprise), but Ohio safety Bradley McDougald did officially commit to Kansas.
Lineman time! Ryan Groy, a good guy and a great blocker, sent his letter in earlier and Casey Dehn, the only Minnesota player that we know of, is also in.
Casey Dehn, 6-6, 243, DE, Owatonna, MN (Owatonna Senior)
The only commitment from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, offensive and defensive lineman Casey Dehn has an array of talents and abilities. On the football field, Dehn, during his junior year, helped lead the Huskies to an 8-3 mark and a share of the conference title for the first time since 1999, being named to the Associated Press All-State second-team.
Dehn is also a standout wrestler who advanced to the Class AAA state championship and won the Class AA shot and discus championship. It is believed that Dehn, recruited by Bob Bostad, will play on the defensive side of the ball.
Ryan Groy, 6-5, 270, OG, Middleton, Wis. (Middleton)
Versatility is one of the big selling points for Groy, who played at center, guard and tackle at Middleton, making him a valued commodity. Moreover Groy runs a 4.91 40-yard dash, has a 27.5-inch vertical, benches 360 pounds, squats 500 pounds and registered 355-pounds on the clean.
After playing tackle throughout high school, Groy knows that he has a lot of work to do before coming up to Madison in the summer. Facing defensive ends that are going to be bigger and faster than any player he encountered in high school, Groy is hoping to increase his 270-pound frame to handle what the Big Ten is going to throw at him.
"Size is going to be a huge thing for me because the ends are going to be so much bigger than they are in high school," he said. "It's something that I am going to have to get use to along with the speed of the game. I think it will come, but I have to get so much quicker and so much faster just to compete with the other linemen."
Officially, we have only seven more letters to see. Phone is fully charged, just waiting for the text message or calls to come in to post.
The St. Thomas Aquinas boys are in. A pair of state and national champions - Conor O'Neill and Dezmen Southward - are part of the UW family.
Dezmen Southward, 6-1, 200, S, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
A teammate of linebacker and UW commit oConor O'Neill, who recommend that UW coaches take a solid look at him, Southward has only been playing football for one season, but has plenty of upside. Recruited as an athlete by Wisconsin, Southward, who also is a standout basketball player, has a 40-inch vertical and has been clocked running a 4.39 40 time.
Helping his team win the Class 5A Florida State Championship in 2008, Southward finished the season with 20 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
Southward picked Wisconsin, who was his favorite since the Badgers offered him in mid January, over offers from Connecticut and Syracuse and high interest from Tennessee.
Conor O'Neill, 6-1, 195, WLB, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
O'Neill is the biggest player but arguably has the best motor that allows him the ability to run from sideline-to-sideline to make the play. Coming from St. Thomas Aquinas, the No.1 ranked high school in the country, doesn't hurt either, as O'Neill has the leadership qualities that go hand-and-hand with the linebacker position.
The team's second leading tackler with 67 stops, including 16 for loss, seven sacks and three caused fumbles during his junior year, O'Neill says he has equaled those marks this season in tackles, adding two forced fumble and an interception.
According to Scout.com Dave Berk, O'Neill is, "the player that catches your eye when St. Thomas Aquinas is on defense. Great body control with a high motor, O'Neill likes to stir things up and keep offensive linemen on their toes."
Both were recruited by Charlie Partridge.
The 'WOZ' is in! Brian Wozniak, who completely transformed his body since committing to Wisconsin, is now No.18. Pat Muldoon, Shelby Harris and Tyler Dippel, we're waiting on you! Brian Wozniak, 6-5, 225, TE, Loveland, OH. (Loveland)
Brian Wozniak first came upon the recruiting scene at the start of his junior season. At 6-foot-5 prospect showed the frame needed to add weight while not losing athletic ability. A two-way player (defensive end), Wozniak is an ideal tight end with the ability to set up in the middle of the field and make the catch. Some have questioned his overall speed but he's shown the ability to get past defenders and make plays.
Picking UW over 14 other schools, Wozniak made 22 receptions for 330 yards and two touchdowns in offense that was more blocking that catching for the receiver.
Wozniak was recruited by Rudolph
So much for multiple surprises from our signing day advance story. Chris Freeman, the big offensive tackle from Trotwood-Madison H.S. had signed his letter of intent to play for Missouri.
If there is going to be a surprise, it's going to come way out of left field.
Tyler Dippel dropped a message saying he's all set. Darious Thomas faxed in his letter this morning according to his coach. By my count, Wisconsin sits at 19 players, two away from what Badger Nation had projected.
Darious Thomas, 6-0, 175, CB, Cedar Hill, TX. (Cedar Hill)
At 6-foot-0, 175 pounds, Thomas certainly doesn't stand out in a crowd. His play, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.
In his senior season, Thomas registered 86 tackles, 15 assists and 13 pass breakups. A first-team all-district selection, Thomas led his team with six interceptions and was a key component in leading his team to a 12-2 record and a birth in the quarterfinals of the Texas state tournament.
With his decision coming down to either Iowa or Wisconsin, the comfort factor sold Thomas. Given the fact that he would be playing for his recruiting coach (Cooks) every day at the cornerback position, that the Badgers took the time to visit him and his family at home and that the Badgers had seven Texas players on their roster, Thomas happily made his commitment to Wisconsin on December 5.
Thomas was recruited by Kerry Cooks
Tyler Dippel, 6-4, 241, DT, Hartford, Wis. (Hartford Union)
With Dippel planning to convert from linebacker, a position he dominated at Hartford Union, to defensive line, the Badgers will get commitments from six defensive linemen, filling a necessary void left by their three seniors.
After earning second team All-Conference after recording 49 tackles his sophomore year, Dippel was an all-state selection his junior year after having 130 tackles, 50 solo tackles, seven forced fumbles and an interception.
"I'll do whatever or fit in however they want if it's going to help the team," he said. "I am just really excited to get to campus and get working with the defense. I am really looking forward to playing on this defense with those guys."
Dippel was recruited by Bob Bostad
Shelby Harris and Pat Muldoon are the only two Wisconsin is waiting on for LOIs. A solid class that hit a rut from October-February but ended solid with Appleton. Once those two letters come in, UW gets some solid talent.
While we wait, check out UWBadgers for condensed videos for all signed recruits. Check out Scout.com for longest highlights of other players.
Pat Muldoon, who chose UW two days before Christmas, is number 20 in the class of 2009.
Pat Muldoon, 6-4, 255, DE, Cincinnati, OH. (St. Xavier)
Name the school and more likely than not, Pat Muldoon received mail or official scholarship offers from them over the recruiting process. For that reason, the recruiting process was a long thought out process that included visiting as many programs officially and unofficially as possible.
Muldoon narrowed his final five down to the Badgers, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke and Virginia from a list of over 30 schools that offered a scholarship. All five schools in his final five Muldoon took a visit to, including coming to Wisconsin on October 4 and Muldoon eventually chose Wisconsin two days before Christmas.
As a junior, Muldoon earned Second Team All-State (Ohio) First Team All-District (Southwest Ohio), First Team All-City (Cincinnati), First team All-League (Greater Catholic League). He tallied 75 tackles, 16 for a loss, 12 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, one interception and 32 QB pressures.
Muldoon was recruited by Joe Rudolph
Mark it down! Shelby Harris starts the class and he ends the class at 10:32 CT. Welcome to the 21 recruits to Wisconsin!
Shelby Harris, 6-4, 235, DE, Mequon, Wis. (Homestead)
Being close to home, not having to spend a lot of money to travel back home and having his mom close enough to come to his game was all enough to convince Shelby Harris that Wisconsin was right for him.
The state's defensive player of the year, the junior made 92 tackles, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries and one for a touchdown. Named to the All-State team by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a senior, Harris had six tackles (five solo) and two quarterback sacks in which he simply bullied through double teams to reach the quarterback, a simply impressive display in leading Mequon to the WIAA State Champion Game.
12:09 p.m. With Wisconsin signing arguably the top quarterback (Budmayr) and receiver (Appleton) in Illinois' 2009 senior class, we thought it would be interesting to breakdown where these 21 recruits come from and what position they are projected to play. The link to that story is here