Each month, Wisconsin beat reporter Jesse Temple will take a look at the Badgers’ recruiting to-do list here on Land of 10. This outlook focuses on three concerns for the program’s recruiting efforts in the weeks ahead. Today, we’ll look at what Wisconsin needs to accomplish in January.
Wisconsin signed 19 committed players for the 2018 class in December, but the Badgers’ work on the recruiting trail is never done. Coaches already have Wisconsin off to a great start recruiting in 2019, with five commitments, and will look to find more prospects in the months ahead.
Continue to offer prospects in future classes
Wisconsin had an extremely busy December on the recruiting trail, handing out a dozen known scholarship offers in the classes of 2018, 2019, 2020 and even 2021. The Badgers offered three prospects in 2018: wide receiver John Jackson (Gardena, Calif.), defensive tackle Billy Ferrell (Fordyce, Ark.) and junior college inside linebacker Will Honas (Butler Community College in Kansas). Ferrell signed with Arkansas, and Honas picked Nebraska during the early signing period. Jackson will visit Wisconsin in January and could be the last piece to the 2018 recruiting class.
The Wisconsin scholarship offers in the 2019 class went to outside linebacker Lance Dixon (West Bloomfield, Mich.), running back Derrian Brown (Buford, Ga.), cornerback Nyquee Hawkins (Orange, N.J.), offensive lineman Jonathan Allen (Dayton, Ohio), cornerback Mike Sainristil (Everett, Mass.), defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele (Honolulu) and defensive end Colby Wooden (Lawrenceville, Ga). Wide receiver Porter Rooks (Charlotte, N.C.) earned an offer in the 2020 class, and defensive end JC Latham (Waukesha, Wis.) earned an offer in the 2021 class.
It remains to be seen whether January will be as busy in terms of scholarship offers. But you can bet some new Badgers offers will pop up throughout the month.
Land 1 more commitment in 2018 class
Wisconsin signed all 19 of its 2018 commits by 10 a.m. on the first day of the December early signing period. Overall, it’s a typical Wisconsin class in that there are few nationally known names. Inside linebacker Jack Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Ill.) is the only 4-star prospect in the bunch, and the rest are 3-star players.
At this stage, Wisconsin appears to be seriously targeting two prospects to help fill out the 2018 class: wide receiver John Jackson (Gardena, Calif.) and cornerback Jairus Brents (Louisville, Ky.). Brents is a 4-star prospect and the No. 1 player in Kentucky, while Jackson is a 3-star player.
Jackson finished his senior season with 63 catches for 573 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a junior, he caught 32 passes for 411 yards and 6 touchdowns. Even though he isn’t a 4-star player, he would represent a major coup for the Badgers. Jackson recently earned a Nebraska scholarship offer and also has offers from Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and USC. Wisconsin has four wide receivers signed in the 2018 class, but the Badgers are stockpiling weapons at the skill positions. Jackson will visit Wisconsin in January ahead of National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
It’s unknown whether Brents would qualify academically at Wisconsin, but he is high on the Badgers and has a massive scholarship offer list that includes Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and USC. Brents is listed at 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds but has the skills to be a big-time playmaker in the secondary. We’ll know much more about where Jackson and Brents stand with the Badgers by the time January ends.
Keep the momentum rolling in 2019 recruiting class
Wisconsin’s 2019 class is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. In December, Wisconsin received a commitment from offensive lineman Joe Tippmann, a 6-foot-6, 283-pound junior from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Dwenger. Tippmann is the third 4-star player out of five commitments, joining offensive lineman Logan Brown (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and quarterback Graham Mertz (Overland Park, Kan.).
Wisconsin’s undefeated regular season, as well as appearances in the Big Ten title game and the Orange Bowl, can only enhance the Badgers’ visibility with recruits. Wisconsin ranks near the top of the list for several 2019 prospects, including wide receiver Nolan Groulx (Cornelius, N.C.), tight end Hayden Rucci (Lititz, Pa.), tackle Trevor Keegan (Crystal Lake, Ill.), tackle Bryce Benhart (Lakeville, Minn.), defensive end Michael Fletcher (Flint, Mich.), inside linebacker Nick Henrich (Omaha, Neb.) and safety Lewis Cine (Everett, Mass.).
If Wisconsin can land even one of those players in January, it would be great news for the Badgers.