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 target Dean Engram’s versatility intriguing
Dean Engram’s family ties to the Penn State football program run deep. His father, Bobby Engram, was a three-time All-American at Penn State and won the Biletnikoff Award in 1994 as nation’s best receiver. Given Dean Engram’s talent on the high school football field, it made sense for the Nittany Lions to offer him a scholarship back on May 21, 2016, before he had even played his sophomore season.
But as Engram continues to evaluate his options, Penn State isn’t the only program in the mix. Wisconsin has emerged as a school that is garnering serious consideration. Engram, who holds a Badgers offer, took an unofficial campus visit March 17. He is scheduled to return June 1 for the first official visit of his recruiting tour.
Engram is a two-way player as a receiver and a defensive back for Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. He earned second-team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honors at wide receiver last season and made first-team all-conference in 2016 as a sophomore.
Gonzaga football coach Randy Trivers told Land of 10 that Engram likes Wisconsin because it is a consistently successful football program. But academics also will play a role in Engram’s decision.
“There’s a genuine and sincere nature about the coaching staff and the way that the program is set up and what the program believes in and what they value at the core that’s attractive for a student-athlete, that really embraces things such as hard work and cohesion and togetherness and selflessness,” Trivers said. “A lot of the intangible qualities that make a great college program great, aside from talented players and great facilities.
“I think that Wisconsin has some of those intangible aspects of the people that really make it an attractive spot as well. So I think it has a lot of good qualities as a potential school for him.”
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Engram is a 3-star prospect and the No. 124 receiver in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. He has amassed scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Boston College, Georgia State, Massachusetts, North Carolina State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Toledo and Virginia Tech.
Dean Engram’s junior season highlights
Trivers said Engram’s versatility as a wide receiver or defensive back makes him a unique prospect. Wisconsin, like many other schools, is pursuing Engram as an athlete who could play on either side of the ball.
“He’s a versatile player in that sense — like a legitimately versatile player,” Trivers said. “Some guys you say, ‘OK, he’s a good two-way player in high school, but he’s definitely a DB in college. Or he’s a good two-way player in high school, but he’s definitely a receiver.’ Dean is a guy that could play either one at the next level because of his skill set.”
Trivers noted that Engram has the right mentality to play defensive back in college because he embraces physicality and isn’t afraid of the challenge of being on an island against a top receiver. What makes Engram such a dangerous threat as a wide receiver, according to Trivers, is that he is the complete package.
“Oftentimes, you get a high school student-athlete that can play receiver because he’s very fast,” Trivers said. “Or once he gets the ball, he can make people miss. But they don’t necessarily have really good ball skills and can catch the ball well. Or they don’t necessarily transition and run good routes.
“Dean is a guy that has the first two pieces, but he’s also a guy that has excellent ball skills and it translates to the next level. A guy that’s a high school player sometimes is just a really good athlete. He may not be a good receiver because he really doesn’t catch the ball naturally or he doesn’t run routes well. But Dean has excellent hand-eye ball skills. He catches the ball very easily, very naturally, and he runs great routes.”
Wisconsin has eight committed prospects in its 2019 class. Of that group, only Marcus Graham could play wide receiver. Graham is a dual-threat quarterback in Mount Holly, N.C., who will play either receiver or defensive back for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s program has 10 scholarship wide receivers entering this season, and none will be seniors.
2019 TE Hudson Henry to release top 5
I will be announcing my Top 5 schools this Friday at 5 PM! Stay tuned!🔥
— Hudson Henry (@hudsonhenry84) May 23, 2018
Hudson Henry, a 6-5, 225-pound tight end from Little Rock, Ark., announced this week that he would be releasing his top five list of schools at 5 p.m. CT Friday. Henry has 22 scholarship offers, including Wisconsin. The Badgers offered Henry back on Aug. 24. Henry took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin on Jan. 28.
Henry is a 4-star prospect and the No. 1 tight end in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. During his junior season at Pulaski Academy, he caught 72 passes for 984 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Most high school recruiting analysts project that Henry will pick Arkansas. Henry’s oldest brother, Hunter, played tight end at Arkansas and is a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. Henry’s brother Hayden currently is an outside linebacker at Arkansas.
Wisconsin already has one tight end committed in the 2019 class with Hayden Rucci (Lititz, Pa.), who picked the Badgers on Feb. 5. Rucci is a 3-star prospect and the No. 14 tight end nationally in the 247Sports composite. Rucci is scheduled to take his official visit to Wisconsin on June 8. Badgers coaches offered 2019 tight end Erick All (Fairfield, Ohio) on May 8 and continue to search for a second tight end in the class.