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’s Florida players as recruits
With Wisconsin two days away from a huge Orange Bowl showdown against Miami, we thought we’d revisit the Badgers’ current roster for Florida prospects. Wisconsin’s roster lists nine players from Florida, although wide receiver George Rushing (Miramar, Fla.) already has announced he will transfer to play elsewhere next season.
Wisconsin has done well in looking for skill position players in Florida, particularly when it comes to defensive back. Although none of the Badgers’ Florida players ranked in the top 100 in the state for their respective recruiting classes, several have made big impacts on the program.
Here’s a look at the rest:
Cornerback Derrick Tindal (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Tindal has played in 51 games with 33 starts and has 103 tackles, 30 pass breakups and 5 interceptions. He has become a stalwart in the Badgers secondary. Tindal was a 3-star prospect who was rated as the No. 194 player in Florida and the No. 110 cornerback in the nation.
Cornerback Faion Hicks (Miami): Hicks was a 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite and the No. 213 player in Florida. He was rated as the No. 156 cornerback in the 2015 recruiting class. Hicks is expected to have a major impact in the secondary in the future.
Cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams (Miami): Carriere-Williams has demonstrated his value to the team in his redshirt freshman season, playing in all 13 games with 4 starts. He has registered 26 tackles with 7 pass breakups and an interception. Carriere-Williams is in position to start next season as a replacement for Tindal. He was a 3-star prospect and the No. 132 player in Florida and the No. 86 cornerback in the country in the 2016 class.
Inside linebacker Nick Thomas (Bradenton, Fla.): Thomas played his first two seasons at Concorida (Kan.) High School before moving on to IMG Academy in Florida. He helped IMG finish 10-1 in 2014 to earn the No. 1 ranking in Florida and finished his four-year varsity career with 278 tackles overall, 29 tackles for loss and 7 1/2 sacks. Thomas has yet to play in a game for the Badgers.
Wide receiver Paul Jackson (Miami Gardens, Fla.): Jackson, who was added to the roster during the season, began his high school career in Florida before finishing in Youngstown, Ohio. He took a redshirt season in 2015 at Notre Dame College and was the scout team player of the year at Dodge City Community College last season.
Safety D’Cota Dixon (Oak Hill, Fla.): Dixon was a 3-star prospect in the Class of 2014 and was listed as the No. 131 player in Florida and the No. 74 safety nationally. He has become one of the leaders of Wisconsin’s defense, playing in 41 games with 22 starts at safety. He owns 131 total tackles with 6 tackles for loss 2 1/2 sacks, 5 interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Dixon will be a senior next season.
Safety Natrell Jamerson (Ocala, Fla.): Jamerson was recruited as a wide receiver in the 2014 class and was a 3-star prospect. He was listed as the No. 141 player in Florida and the No. 131 receiver in the country. Jamerson’s college career took off when he moved to defensive back. As a junior, he was the team’s third cornerback. This season, he became a starting safety. Jamerson has played in 46 games with 15 starts and has 86 tackles, 16 pass breakups and 2 interceptions.
Defensive end Keldric Preston (Tampa, Fla.): Preston was a 3-star player in the 2016 class who rated as the No. 161 player in Florida and the No. 71 weak-side defensive end. He has played in one game and registered 1 tackle.
2018 CB Jairus Brents narrowing choices
Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.com reports that cornerback Jairus Brents is deciding between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh and that he intends on visiting both schools in January. Brents is the top player in Kentucky for the 2018 class and took an unofficial visit to watch Wisconsin’s victory against Michigan on Nov. 18.
Brents is one of two known prospects Wisconsin is targeting as the Badgers try to close out their 2018 recruiting class. Wide receiver John Jackson, who is expected to visit Jan. 20, is the other target.
Brents initially released his top-10 list of schools on Aug. 22: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama, Purdue, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Indiana and USC. Wisconsin could be an appealing opportunity for Brents because of the potential playing opportunities.
Wisconsin has three cornerbacks signed in the 2018 class with 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 Tindal and Lubern Figaro. Junior Nick Nelson must decide whether he wants to return for his senior season or declare for the NFL draft.
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.