Wisconsin’s early signing period last month was so free of drama that all 19 of the Badgers’ commitments signed by 10 a.m. CT on the first day of the three-day window. That’s just how the Badgers like to operate.
So, will there be any drama in store as Wisconsin closes in on the Feb. 7 National Signing Day and attempts to add one more piece to the 2018 recruiting class? That remains to be seen, but there are still a couple of prospects who could be in the fold.
Here’s a look at which recruits are left on Wisconsin’s big board:
- Ranking: 3-star prospect, No. 63 player in California
- Position: Wide receiver
- Hometown: Gardena, Calif.
- Top schools: Wisconsin, UCLA
Overview: John Jackson is scheduled to take an official visit to Madison the weekend of Jan. 19. That’s a big deal for a California native to make the trek to Wisconsin in the dead of winter, but it does show how serious his interest is in the Badgers. One problem is that he’s supposed to visit UCLA the following weekend, and it could be difficult for the Badgers to pry him away from new Bruins coach Chip Kelly and his up-tempo offense. Jackson has said he also intends to visit Illinois.
Wisconsin does not necessarily need another wide receiver given the current depth and the committed players for 2018. The Badgers will return Quintez Cephus, Kendric Pryor, A.J. Taylor and Danny Davis. Plus, Wisconsin is adding Aron Cruickshank, Isaac Guerendo, A.J. Abbott and Taj Mustapha. But the Badgers continue to build up reserves at skill positions.
“I think very highly of them, especially after this really successfully season they had,” Jackson told Rivals.com this month. “I was on the phone with the wide receivers coach and he let me know I have an offer there, so it was good hearing that.”
Jackson caught 32 passes for 411 yards with 6 touchdowns as a junior. He finished his senior season with 63 catches for 573 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- Ranking: 4-star prospect, No. 1 player in Kentucky
- Position: Cornerback
- Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
- Top schools: Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, Duke, Pitt and Purdue
Overview: It’s unclear how much interest Jairus Brents, the top player in Kentucky, has in Wisconsin. He released his top 10 list of schools on Aug. 22, which featured Wisconsin, Michigan State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama, Purdue, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Indiana and USC. Brents visited Wisconsin for its Nov. 18 home game against Michigan.
But there appear to be conflicting reports about his status. Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports reported that Brents was deciding between Pittsburgh and Wisconsin and would take official visits to both schools in January. However, Brents told Sonny Shipp of 247Sports two weeks ago that his top-6 list of schools were Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, Duke, Pitt and Purdue. He said he would be taking all five of his official visits in January and February.
Brents told Shipp he was waiting on clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding his most recent ACT score. If he receives clearance, he will set up official visits.
Brents earned first-team all-state honors as a junior and senior. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, he recorded 62 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions this season. But he was a dynamic threat on offense and played quarterback for Louisville Waggener. He passed for 972 yards with 13 touchdowns and ran for 481 yards. Brents scored 15 total touchdowns — 8 rushing, 2 receiving, 2 kickoff returns, 2 punt returns and 1 interception return. According to the Courier-Journal, he also scored on 13 2-point conversion runs.
At this stage, Brents appears to be a long shot to land at Wisconsin. The Badgers have three cornerbacks signed in the 2018 class: Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas), Donte Burton (Loganville, Ga.) and Alexander Smith (Culver City, Calif.). But it is a position of need because the Badgers are losing seniors Derrick Tindal and Lubern Figaro, as well as junior Nick Nelson, who declared for the 2018 NFL Draft after Wisconsin’s Orange Bowl victory against Miami.