Wisconsin polished off its 2018 recruiting class by securing its 20th commitment on National Signing Day. The class is a strong group comprised of one 4-star prospect and 19 3-star players, and Badgers coaches have to be happy with their haul.
But, as is the case in any recruiting class, there are bound to be players Wisconsin took a run at and didn’t connect with in the end. Here is a look at a few Wisconsin targets who got away in 2018.
T Jack Plumb
Hometown: Green Bay, Wis.
Weight: 240 pounds
Rating: 3-star, No. 5 player in Wisconsin, No. 71 tackle in the country (247Sports composite)
Wisconsin has built its success by landing the best in-state players during each recruiting class. In 2018, the Badgers signed four of the top six players in Wisconsin. But tackle Jack Plumb was not one of those players. Instead, Plumb committed to Iowa in June 2017.
Plumb had offers from schools such as Illinois State, Western Illinois, South Dakota and Northern Illinois until Iowa offered him May 9. Over the subsequent three weeks, he picked up offers from Wyoming, Minnesota, Arizona State and Michigan State. Plumb took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin in June. But just a few weeks later, he picked Iowa in a Big Ten recruiting upset.
CB Marquis Williams
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Weight: 165 pounds
Rating: 3-star, No. 120 player in Florida, No. 74 cornerback in the country
It appeared for several months that Wisconsin was the leader for cornerback Marquis Williams during his recruitment process. He even reiterated as much in an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel in August. But Williams surprised many by committing to Pittsburgh.
“[Pittsburgh] will be very happy,” Williams told the Sun Sentinel after his commitment. “I’m going to change college football.”
Williams ultimately chose Pitt over finalists Wisconsin and Minnesota, putting an end to one of the more drawn-out processes involving a Badgers recruit in the 2018 class. Williams had listed Wisconsin as his top school as early as November 2016. He received a Badgers scholarship offer April 19 and last visited Wisconsin unofficially on June 22.
But Williams said he didn’t want to make a decision until his senior season began after he transferred from Coconut Creek to Cardinal Gibbons High School. He also indicated that, even after he decided, he intended on taking official visits to multiple schools in the fall. He previously cited Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and Pittsburgh as possible official visit destinations.
Wisconsin’s coaching staff prefers commitments from prospects who are willing to end their recruitment after picking the school. While Williams contemplated his decision this summer, the Badgers landed two other cornerback commitments in the 2018 class: Alexander Smith (Culver City, Calif.) and Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas).
As it turned out, someone with Wisconsin ties played a central role in steering Williams to Pitt. That’s Charlie Partridge, who was an assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2008-12 and now serves as defensive line coach at Pittsburgh.
“Charlie Partridge did a great job recruiting him,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Matt DuBuc told the Sun Sentinel. “We’re close with Charlie, and it ended up working out. I think the ACC was better for him than the Big Ten.”
Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard had been recruiting Williams since Leonhard served as the program’s defensive backs coach. The fact he earned a promotion and remained with the program was part of why Wisconsin initially appealed to Williams.
“To me it’s like a sign, like a blessing to me, like trying to give me a sign like this might be the move,” Williams told Scout.com earlier in August.
QB Jack Tuttle
Hometown: San Marcos, Calif.
Weight: 195 pounds
Rating: 4-star, No. 25 player in California, No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the country
Jack Tuttle earned a Wisconsin offer on May 23, 2016, and took two unofficial visits to campus. He visited in July and then returned in November to watch Wisconsin crush Illinois 48-3 on homecoming. Tuttle spoke glowingly of Wisconsin and appeared to be legitimately interested in playing for the Badgers.
But Wisconsin took a commitment from 3-star quarterback Ben Bryant (La Grange, Ill.) on Dec. 7, which likely changed the course of Tuttle’s recruitment. Tuttle then committed to Utah on Dec. 16. Bryant ultimately de-committed and signed with Cincinnati. Wisconsin wound up with 3-star quarterback Chase Wolf (Cincinnati), who committed May 5, 2017.