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.
QB Graham Mertz earns Elite 11 finals invite
Wisconsin 2019 quarterback commit Graham Mertz earned one of the highest honors for a high school signal caller last week with an invitation to the Elite 11 finals in Los Angeles. Mertz received the invite after a strong showing at the Elite 11 regional in the Atlanta area. The finals will take place June 1-3.
— Graham Mertz (@GrahamMertz5) March 29, 2018
Barton Simmons of 247Sports noted last week at the Elite 11 regional that Mertz “may have the most upside of any quarterback on hand. He’s got a quick release, didn’t struggle with the wind and can deliver strikes downfield.”
The Elite 11 began in 1999. According to the Elite 11 website, 11 of the last 12 quarterbacks to have won the Heisman Trophy attended the Elite 11 finals or an Elite 11 regional. And 15 of the top 20 NFL passers in 2017 attended the finals or regionals as well.
Mertz becomes the second Wisconsin commit to earn an Elite 11 finals invitation, joining Bart Houston. Houston had the highest 247Sports composite rating (.9229) of any Badgers quarterback in the online rankings era, which dates to 2000. D.J. Gillins was second at .8922, while Mertz is third at .8914, although his numbers could rise by the time the 2019 recruiting cycles finishes.
Mertz, a 4-star prospect, is the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. He committed to Wisconsin on Oct. 8 when he held scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. Mertz then helped lead Blue Valley North (Kan.) High School to a state championship in his junior season, throwing for 3,684 yards with 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He has received at least 14 known scholarship offers since finishing the season but remains committed to the Badgers.
Badgers target Moses Douglass picks Kentucky
One of Wisconsin’s big targets in the 2019 class is off the board. Safety Moses Douglass (Springfield, Ohio) committed last week to Kentucky.
Committed!!!!!!! 🔵⚪️🔵⚪️🔵 pic.twitter.com/X62yFU1rbi
— Moses Douglass (@MosesDouglass) March 31, 2018
Douglass is a 6-foot-2, 186-pound junior who is a 4-star prospect, according to the 247Sports composite. He ranks as the No. 9 player in Ohio and the No. 25 safety. Douglass was a third-team All-Ohio Division I honoree last season. According to the Springfield News-Sun, Douglass was second on his team with 65 tackles and had 2 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.
Douglass will follow in the footsteps of his father, Maurice, who played defensive back for Kentucky and went on to an 11-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Maurice now serves as Moses’ coach at Springfield High School.
Maurice Douglass told Land of 10 last month that his son intended to take a visit to Wisconsin’s campus over spring break in late March or early April. He noted that Moses had struck up a good relationship with Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and liked the direction the program was headed. That visit never materialized.
Wisconsin has one commitment at safety from 3-star prospect Bryson Shaw (Potomac, Md.). The Badgers have scholarship offers out to seven uncommitted safeties in the 2019 class. The player at the top of Wisconsin’s wish list is Lewis Cine, who transferred this offseason from Everett High School in Massachusetts to Trinity Christian School in Texas.
Cine is a 4-star prospect who is ranked as the No. 3 safety in the country, according to the 247Sports composite. He holds scholarship offers from 31 programs, but Wisconsin has been a school of interest to him for months.
“Way before I had the offers, I told my defensive coordinator to reach out to the Wisconsin staff and send out my film to them to get a response,” Cine told Land of 10 in August. “It was kind of a late response, but I was still waiting for it. When they finally offered, it was a surreal moment for me.”
The 6-2, 180-pound Cine had a relationship with former Badgers defensive back Lubern Figaro, who also attended Everett High in Massachusetts. Figaro has spoken to Cine previously about Wisconsin and what to expect from the Badgers during the recruiting process.
“What he said about Wisconsin from watching the games, it’s the type of environment I would like to be in,” Cine said. “He says that for him in his recruiting process, he saw real people, real coaches that were real with him instead of being fake. He tells me Wisconsin, they’re nothing but the realest. They’ll keep it 100 with you when it comes to the recruiting process and the family feel.”
Other schools that have come on strong for Cine are Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. Cine made an unofficial visit to Texas last week to watch a spring practice.
2019 athlete Marcus Graham earns Badgers offer
Wisconsin offered a scholarship to Marcus Graham, a 6-foot, 175-pound athlete from Mount Holly, N.C. Graham earned the offer while on a campus visit Monday.
Blessed and honored to receive an offer from The University of Wisconsin! pic.twitter.com/niDL4T42ep
— Marcus Graham (@TheMGraham) April 3, 2018
Graham has nine scholarship offers, but Wisconsin represents his first high-major offer. The other schools to have offered Graham are Air Force, Cornell, Dartmouth, East Carolina, Elon, Hampton, Howard and Old Dominion.
Graham put up some monster numbers as a quarterback for Mountain Island Charter. In one game, he recorded 421 yards of total offense with 6 touchdowns. He tallied 202 passing yards, 161 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards. One week later, he passed for 240 yards, rushed for 146 yards and tallied 3 touchdowns. He is being recruited by Wisconsin as a receiver.
2019 DT D’Von Ellies earns Badgers offer
Wisconsin offered a scholarship Tuesday to defensive tackle D’Von Ellies, a 6-2, 280-pound junior from Owings Mills, Md. Ellies attends McDonogh School, which is the same school current Badgers safety Eric Burrell attended.
— Dvon Ellies🇦🇸 (@dfesquire) April 3, 2018
Ellies is a 3-star prospect who ranks as the No. 24 defensive tackle in the country for the 2019 class. He has 13 scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Arizona State, Boston College, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCF, Virginia and Wake Forest.
2019 DE Noah Potter picks up Wisconsin offer
Noah Potter’s visit to Wisconsin went well on Tuesday. So well, in fact, that he became the third player this week to pick up a Badgers scholarship offer.
— Noah Potter (@noah_potter10) April 3, 2018
Potter is a 6-5, 250-pound defensive end from Mentor, Ohio. He holds 23 scholarship offers, and it could be difficult for Wisconsin to pry Potter away from Ohio State, which is one of his top schools. Potter is a 4-star prospect who is rated as the No. 20 strong-side defensive end in the 2019 class.
2019 OLB Spencer Lytle visits campus
Outside linebacker Spencer Lytle has an astounding 41 reported scholarship offers. But Lytle thought enough of Wisconsin to visit campus this week as part of a tour that will also take him to Notre Dame, Illinois and Clemson.
— Spencer Lytle (@_SpencerLytle_) April 3, 2018
Lytle, who received a Wisconsin scholarship offer on March 6, is 6-3 and 215 pounds and rates as the No. 30 outside linebacker in the country. He is from Bellflower, Calif., and plays for St. John Bosco. Lytle recorded 77 tackles last season with 7 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
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