Wisconsin went 11-3 in 2016, picking up a second double-digit win season in as many years under coach Paul Chryst.
Yet again, the Badgers did it with hardly any preseason attention and without a highly ranked recruiting class. Wisconsin often finds itself toward the middle of the Big Ten recruiting rankings, but the Badgers are coming off a Big Ten West division title and a top-10 ranking. Wisconsin accomplished it all despite starting off unranked — until it beat LSU at Lambeau Field in the season opener.
Expect the same for Wisconsin’s 2017 recruiting class for national signing day — the Badgers will find key contributors no matter what the recruiting rankings say.
However, the Badgers did get a 4-star recruit in OG Kayden Lyles and a slew of 3-star recruits to help put the class into focus. The Badgers are likely to end up with a 16-member 2017 class. They could also add another impressive piece to the class.
Here’s a rundown of Wisconsin’s 2017 commitments going into National Signing Day, with rankings from 247 Sports:
Wisconsin 2017 recruiting class, rankings
|4-star OG||Kayden Lyles||12||Middleton, Wis.|
|3-star TE||Jake Ferguson||11||Madison, Wis.|
|3-star RB||Jonathan Taylor||24||Salem, N.J.|
|3-star OT||Tyler Beach||43||Port Washington, Wis.|
|3-star DE||Andrew Van Ginkel||2||Council Bluffs, Iowa|
|3-star pro-style QB||Jack Coan||20||West Sayville, N.Y.|
|3-star OG||Logan Bruss||25||Kimberly, Wis.|
|3-star DE||Izayah Green-May||38||Bolingbrook, Ill.|
|3-star DE||Aaron Vopal||27||De Pere, Wis.|
|3-star S||Scott Nelson||57||Detroit, Mich.|
|3-star WR||Cade Green||132||Austin, Texas|
|3-star TE||Alex Fenton||55||Menomonie, Wis.|
|3-star CB||Madison Cone||132||Kernersville, N.C.|
|3-star WR||Emmet Perry||185||DeSoto, Texas|
|3-star CB||Faion Hicks||184||Hollywood, Fla.|
|2-star LS||Adam Bay||3||Mesa, Ariz.|
What is Wisconsin’s recruiting class ranked?
Early enrollees: 6
4-star commits: 1
3-star commits: 14
247Sports composite ranking: No. 47
Big Ten ranking: No. 11
Wisconsin 2017 signing day schedule
Wisconsin will welcome its 2017 signing day class on Wednesday. Chryst is holding a National Signing Day news conference at 2:30 p.m. ET. Badgers fans can watch the press conference here.
Badgers commitments can begin return their National Letters of Intent starting at 7 a.m. ET. Wisconsin will announce the signees as they are received.
Wisconsin National Signing Day preview, storylines
Who’s going to be the star?
The obvious pick is 4-star prospect Kayden Lyles. The 6-foot-3 offensive guard is part of a strong Badgers connection with his family. Older brother Kare is a freshman at quarterback and father Kevin also played for the Badgers. Lyles had been playing in Arizona before moving to Wisconsin to finish up his high school career. Though Lyles could make a difference right away, the Badgers may not need him just yet with the returning talent. But expect the transition to be very smooth for what could be a future star.
Could any 2017 recruit make a difference right away?
Lyles and other early enrollees can’t be counted out, and there could be some injuries along the way that force changes to plans. But the big loss on defense comes at linebacker, as LBs Vince Biegel and T.J. Watt are moving on and will get their names called at the 2017 NFL Draft. Andrew Van Ginkel is a name to remember. Originally at South Dakota, he transferred to Iowa Western before enrolling early with Wisconsin this month. There are other Wisconsin linebackers returning, but Van Ginkel is rated as the country’s No. 24 JUCO recruit for 2017. Plus, as Land of 10’s Sean Keeler writes, he fits right into the Biegel and Watt mold.
“Yeah, I looked at their outside linebackers and I felt their body types are pretty similar to mine,” says Van Ginkel, who committed to the Badgers in November and plans to enroll at Madison in January. “I just have to put on a little bit of weight. Other than that, I just felt like it was the best fit for me, position-wise, compared to other schools where I’d have to gain some weight and just be a ‘hands-down’ guy.”
Who are the early enrollees?
Six 2017 recruits are already enrolled with Wisconsin:
- QB Jack Coan
- CB Madison Cone
- LB Izayah Green-May
- CB Faion Hicks
- OG Kayden Lyles
- LB Andrew Van Ginkel
But the Badgers include another recruit on their official early enrollee list, WR Deron Harrell. Son of former Florida State player Damian, Harrell was part of the 2016 class but grayshirted. The former 3-star recruit, from Denver, is listed as a receiver. He also had potential to be listed as a cornerback.
Could there be a late addition?
It certainly looks like it. Though 4-star WR Danny Davis hasn’t announced anything yet, the Badgers are trending as the pick. The recruit is ranked No. 8 out of Ohio and is the No. 31 receiver for 2017. As noted by Zach Heilprin, Davis would be the highest-ranked receiver to sign with Wisconsin since Kraig Appleton in 2009.
Davis would be the highest-ranked WR Wisconsin has signed since Kraig Appleton in 2009, according to the 247 Composite. https://t.co/CrVbJSN2np
— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) January 31, 2017