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.
Commitment impact of safety Rachad Wildgoose Jr.
Wisconsin isn’t much for high drama when it comes to National Signing Day. But the Badgers did secure one last piece to the 2018 recruiting puzzle Wednesday with the signing of safety Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (Miami, Fla.).
Wildgoose represents the fifth defensive back and the second safety to sign in Wisconsin’s 20-person class. He joins cornerbacks Donte Burton (Loganville, Ga.), Alexander Smith (Culver City, Calif.) and Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas), as well as safety Reggie Pearson Jr. (River Rouge, Mich.).
Wildgoose shows good physicality and instincts as a defensive back and has solid closing speed to track down a receiver at the end of a pass attempt. Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has recruited a strong group of defensive backs that will form the backbone of the secondary in the future.
Wisconsin’s secondary will be young and mostly inexperienced next season. The only safety in the two-deep with significant playing time is D’Cota Dixon, who finished fourth on the team with 55 tackles. Patrick Johnson played in four games before sustaining a season-ending right arm injury. Eric Burrell, Seth Currens and Scott Nelson will all be battling for time.
Last year, Wisconsin secured wide receiver Danny Davis on National Signing Day, and he went on to make a major impact as a freshman. It remains to be seen how quickly Wildgoose, a 3-star prospect, can adjust to the college game. But he appears to have all the tools to make an impact down the road.
John Torchio commits to Badgers as preferred walk-on
Wisconsin collected a surprise preferred walk-on Tuesday when John Torchio, a 6-2, 190-pound athlete from Moraga, Calif., committed to the Badgers. Torchio held scholarship offers from California, Air Force, Army, Columbia, Dartmouth, Rice, San Diego and San Jose State.
— john torchio (@JohnTorchio) February 7, 2018
“It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Torchio told BadgerBlitz.com editor Jon McNamara. “It was a hard decision. It was actually really tough for me and it took a lot of thought. I know it’s a risk, but I’d bet on myself any day. I see that as an opportunity.”
According to MaxPreps.com, Torchio played quarterback as a senior and completed 226 of 353 passes (64.0 percent) for 3,314 yards with 37 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He rushed for 761 yards with 11 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 664 yards and 7 scores. Defensively, Torchio recorded 98 tackles with 7 interceptions, 9 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries.
Torchio visited for a camp over the summer and returned for an official visit last weekend, when he committed to the Badgers. He told McNamara he would begin his Wisconsin career as a safety.
Badgers offer 4-star G Caedan Wallace
Wisconsin has two 4-star offensive linemen committed in the 2019 recruiting class with Logan Brown (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Joe Tippmann (Fort Wayne, Ind.). But the Badgers could compile perhaps the best class of linemen the program has had with more commitments up front.
The latest offensive lineman to earn a Wisconsin offer is 4-star guard Caedan Wallace, a 6-5, 315-pound junior from Hun School in Princeton, N.J.
— special cäe #73🥞☠️ (@caedanw) February 7, 2018
Wallace has 23 known scholarship offers and is considered a Penn State lock. Wallace visited Penn State last weekend for its junior day. Some of his other offers come from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Rutgers, Tennessee, UCF, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Wisconsin has scholarship offers out to two uncommitted guards in the 2019 class: Wallace and Zeke Correll (Cincinnati).
Badgers offer 2019 CB Marquis Wilson
Wisconsin also extended a scholarship offer to cornerback Marquis Wilson, a 6-foot, 165-pound junior from Avon, Conn. Wilson, who received a Nebraska offer on the same day, has seen his recruiting gain considerable steam the past few weeks. Since Jan. 23, he has earned offers from Michigan, Iowa, Rutgers and Ohio State, in addition to Nebraska and Wisconsin.
— Armani (@MarquisArmani) February 8, 2018
In total, Wilson holds 15 scholarship offers. He is a 3-star prospect who is rated as the No. 3 player in Connecticut and the No. 46 athlete in the country in the 247Sports composite. Like guard Caedan Wallace, Wilson attended Penn State’s junior day last weekend.
QB commit Graham Mertz earning more offers
The scholarship offer list is piling up for Badgers quarterback commit Graham Mertz (Overland Park, Kan.). This week, Mertz added offers from Arizona State on Monday, Oklahoma State on Tuesday and LSU on Wednesday.
Received an offer from LSU! 🐯 pic.twitter.com/hPAXK00pZt
— Graham Mertz (@GrahamMertz5) February 7, 2018
That makes eight scholarship offers for Mertz since he committed to Wisconsin on Oct. 8. The other five are from Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Missouri and Georgia. Mertz is a 4-star prospect who is rated as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class. While Mertz told Land of 10 three weeks ago that he was “sticking with Wisconsin,” Badgers fans will surely wait nervously until the December early signing period nine months from now.
Wisconsin hoops target Ochai Agbaji picks Kansas
Ochai Agbaji, a 6-5, 195-pound guard from Kansas City, Mo., has scored points in bunches during his senior season. He is averaging 27.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. But until two weeks ago, Agbaji didn’t have any scholarship offers from Power 5 conference programs.
That changed in a hurry, when Agbaji received offers from Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Oregon, Nebraska and finally Kansas. Wisconsin seemed like a viable option because Agbaji was born in Milwaukee, where his father played college basketball. But when Kansas came in with an offer Saturday, it sealed Agbaji’s decision.
Agbaji announced his commitment to Kansas on Thursday afternoon during a ceremony at Oak Park High School.
— Ochai Agbaji (@youngoch) February 8, 2018
Agbaji is the second player this week with a Wisconsin offer to commit elsewhere. Point guard Xavier Pinson (Chicago) announced his commitment to Missouri on Monday. So, where does that leave Wisconsin in its recruitment of more players in the 2018 class?
As of now, Wisconsin has zero known scholarship offers out to uncommitted prospects. Wisconsin recently offered a scholarship to point guard Tyger Campbell (La Porte, Ind.). But he narrowed his list of finalists to four, and Wisconsin was not included. Campbell ultimately committed to UCLA. The other players who held scholarship offers from Wisconsin and committed elsewhere are guard Tyler Herro (Kentucky), forward Isaiah Kelly (Yale), forward Joey Hauser (Marquette) and forward Nate Laszewski (Notre Dame).
Wisconsin finds itself in a difficult predicament since Herro de-committed from the Badgers after being committed for a year. Wisconsin has been forced to chase after prospects with several other scholarship offers. Forward Taylor Currie (Clarkston, Mich.) is the only scholarship player signed in the 2018 class. Center Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn.) will be a walk-on in his first season before earning a scholarship.
Just because Wisconsin’s recruiting situation for 2018 looks dire, the Badgers’ coaching staff isn’t going to give up in pursuit of more prospects. Expect Wisconsin to hit the prep schools and potentially pursue the graduate transfer route. Wisconsin’s best bet to land another high school prospect is to find a late-bloomer who lacks significant high-major interest.
Wisconsin found two prospects in its 2016 class — point guard D’Mitrik Trice and forward Aleem Ford — at the IMG Academy prep school in Bradenton, Fla. Trice and Ford didn’t commit to Wisconsin until April 23, 2016. In other words, there is still hope for the 2018 class.