Recruiting never stops in Badgers country, and we’re here to help put it all in perspective. Join us every Tuesday and Thursday night for a recap of Wisconsin recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Wisconsin offers 2020 QB Harrison Bailey
Harrison Bailey has been one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in the 2020 class since before he took a high school snap. He earned a scholarship offer from Miami as an eighth grader. North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Alabama all offered before his freshman season began.
So while it might seem as though Wisconsin would have a head start by offering Bailey a scholarship on Tuesday, the 4-star prospect already has at least 18 known scholarship offers. Some of the others include Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
— Harrison Bailey (@HBailey_05) January 24, 2018
Bailey is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore from Marietta, Ga., who ranks as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the 2020 recruiting class, according to 247Sports. As a freshman, he threw for 2,815 yards with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Bailey played in only 6 games last season as a sophomore because of an injury and completed 126 of 203 passes (62.1 percent) for 1,824 yards with 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Bailey famously drew the attention of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton when he saw Bailey as a 14-year-old participate in his foundation’s 7-on-7 tournament in Atlanta. Bleacher Report detailed Bailey’s rise in January 2017, after he had completed his freshman season.
Wisconsin now has offered both Bailey and Max Johnson (Watkinsville, Ga.) as quarterbacks in the 2020 class. Johnson has 10 scholarship offers of his own.
Badgers offer 2019 CB Semar Melvin
Semar Melvin is a 5-11, 155-pound junior from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who earned a Wisconsin offer Wednesday. He is a 3-star prospect and has 12 scholarship offers, including from Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Syracuse. Melvin is rated as the No. 50 cornerback in the country for the 2019 class, according to 247Sports.
— Semar Melvin (@SemarMelvin) January 24, 2018
Wisconsin has had its share of success recruiting at St. Thomas Aquinas, which is where former Badgers James White, Dezmen Southward and Conor O’Neill played. Current Badgers cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams also played there. Former Wisconsin defensive back Devin Gaulden, who is from the area, is now an assistant coach at St. Thomas Aquinas.
Melvin told Corey Bender of 247Sports two weeks ago that Kentucky and Virginia Tech were his leaders at this stage of the recruiting process.
Badgers offer pair of 2020 teammates in Maryland
Wisconsin ventured to St. Francis Academy in Baltimore, where it offered scholarships to defensive tackle Jonathan Wallace and defensive end Chris Braswell. Wallace is a 6-3, 315-pound junior who also holds scholarship offers from Michigan and Florida. Wallace tweeted about the Wisconsin and Florida offers on Wednesday.
— Jonathan (@BiG_Wall75) January 24, 2018
Braswell is 6-3, 211 pounds and now has offers from at least seven programs: Maryland, Michigan, Navy, Penn State, South Carolina, Syracuse and Wisconsin. Adam Friedman of Rivals reported the Braswell offer Wednesday.
2019 QB commit Graham Mertz earns Missouri offer
Stop if you’ve heard this before, but 2019 Wisconsin quarterback commit Graham Mertz has collected yet another scholarship offer. This time, Mertz tweeted Tuesday night about receiving an offer from Missouri. That marks at least four scholarship offers since Mertz committed to Wisconsin on Oct. 8: from Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss and now Missouri. The offers from the Buckeyes, Rebels and Tigers came within the last week.
Received an offer from the University of Missouri! 🐯 pic.twitter.com/hwr4BaU9TJ
— Graham Mertz (@GrahamMertz5) January 24, 2018
Mertz told Land of 10 last week that he remains firmly committed to Wisconsin, but Badgers fans surely will worry until he officially signs with the program, which can’t occur until December. Mertz is the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite.
Mertz finished his junior season completing 269 of 434 passes (62 percent) for 3,684 yards with 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He participated this month in the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio and was deemed one of the best quarterbacks at the event, which only increased his national profile.
Coaches visit 2018 commits
Wisconsin’s coaching staff has been busy on the recruiting trail the past week, but coaches have managed to find time to visit with several of the team’s committed prospects in the 2018 class.
Badgers coach Paul Chryst and special teams coordinator Chris Haering made the rounds across the state. Three of Wisconsin’s four in-state commits tweeted about those visits:
Defensive end Cormac Sampson (Eau Claire, Wis.)
— Cormac Sampson (@shorty_sampson) January 25, 2018
Linebacker CJ Goetz (Waukesha, Wis.)
— CJ GOETZ (@cj_goetz) January 24, 2018
Defensive end Boyd Dietzen (Kimberly, Wis.)
— Boyd Dietzen (@Boyd_Dietzen76) January 23, 2018
Badgers offensive tackle Michael Furtney, from Milan, Mich., also received a visit from offensive line coach Joe Rudolph.
— Michael Furtney (@FurtneyMichael) January 23, 2018