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.
4-star DE Michael Fletcher talks official visit
Michael Fletcher is a 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end from Flint, Mich., who holds 17 scholarship offers. Among the programs to have offered him are Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska, as well as home-state schools Michigan and Michigan State. Despite that lofty scholarship list, Wisconsin remains firmly in the picture.
Fletcher tweeted that he had set up an official visit for Wisconsin from June 8-10.
🔴Wisconsin official June 8-10⚪️
— Michael Fletcher (@bigmike810_) April 5, 2018
“It’s definitely a great school,” Fletcher told Land of 10. “I watched a lot of their games this year. They’ve just become great on both sides of the ball.”
Fletcher has been a terror for Carman-Ainsworth’s varsity football team. According to MLive.com, Fletcher has recorded 19 sacks in 20 games over the last two seasons. He tallied 11 1/2 sacks last season, and his personal goal for next season is to break the school record of 14 sacks.
“It’s definitely a big goal,” Fletcher said. “I’m always trying to be No. 1. It’s just something that drives me to be better and better, so it’s something I’m working towards.”
Fletcher has visited Wisconsin once, in October to watch the Badgers’ game against Purdue. He said the Badgers like his combination of size and athleticism.
Fletcher’s pinned tweet to his Twitter profile is still a scholarship offer he received in September from Michigan State, which he called his “dream offer.” However, Fletcher said he is open to exploring his options. He noted Wisconsin currently represents his only visit that is set in stone. Fletcher has taken unofficial visits this offseason to Michigan State, Michigan, Georgia and Kentucky.
Fletcher is a 4-star prospect who is rated as the No. 28 strong-side defensive end in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite.
Badgers hoops adds Tai Strickland, Joe Hedstrom
Point guard Tai Strickland and center Joe Hedstrom officially joined Wisconsin’s basketball program Wednesday when they signed their national letters of intent. Strickland and Hedstrom are part of a three-person class for the Badgers in 2018, alongside forward Taylor Currie, who signed last fall.
— Tai Strickland (@TstrickFanPage) April 11, 2018
The 6-2 Strickland transferred to St. Petersburg High School in Florida for his senior season after starting for two seasons at Tampa Catholic. Strickland led his teams to the state semifinals in each of his final three prep seasons. Strickland averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game last season, helping the Green Devils to a 24-6 record. Strickland was named first-team All-Pinellas County and earned team defensive player of the year honors.
Strickland didn’t garner the college interest he wanted until late in his senior season, when Badgers assistant coach Howard Moore offered him a scholarship on Feb. 15. Strickland then earned offers from Rutgers, Minnesota and DePaul. He narrowed his three finalists to Wisconsin, Rutgers and Minnesota. He visited Wisconsin and Rutgers but never made a trip to Minnesota before picking the Badgers.
“All the schools really had a need,” Strickland told Land of 10 after he committed. “But with Wisconsin, it was like, ‘You can come in, you can compete, but we’re going to make you better, and we’re going to keep on making you better, and we’re going to win while we’re doing it.’ That was really big for me.”
Strickland could have an opportunity to earn immediate minutes in a deep Wisconsin back court that will include D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Brevin Pritzl, Kobe King and Trevor Anderson. The Badgers needed a playmaker capable of creating off the dribble late in the shot clock.
“I’ve got to come in with the right mindset and not take a back seat, but to really excel and develop myself,” Strickland said.
Hedstrom, meanwhile, will begin his Wisconsin career as a non-scholarship player before earning a scholarship for the 2019-20 season. The 7-foot Hedstrom helped Hopkins (Minn.) High School to a 26-2 record as a senior and a final national ranking of No. 38. Hedstrom was a Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association All-Star and averaged 8.5 points per game in his junior season. He also averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds per game in 2017 with the Minnesota Comets, his AAU team.
“I’m guessing they’re probably planning to redshirt him,” Hopkins boys basketball coach Ken Novak told Land of 10. “Wisconsin does such a great job with those big kids that are kind of a little bit behind. But he’s got potential because he runs so well. He actually shoots the ball decently.
“It’ll be interesting. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play with those guys because Greg Gard does a great job with those big kids that are a little bit later developers.”
Jalen Johnson earns UCLA offer
Wisconsin’s top basketball target in the 2020 class continues to stack up scholarship offers. The latest offer for forward Jalen Johnson is from UCLA.
Blessed to receive an offer from UCLA 💛💙🐻 pic.twitter.com/iRYK9cCpdK
— Jalen Johnson (@Jalen_J23) April 11, 2018
Johnson, a 5-star prospect from Sun Prairie, Wis., is rated as the No. 8 player in his class, according to the 247Sports composite. He holds 10 scholarship offers, including four over the last month from Georgia Tech, Florida, Kansas State and UCLA. His other offers are from Wisconsin, Marquette, Iowa, Purdue, UNLV and West Virginia.
As a sophomore last season, Johnson averaged 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 21 games and was a major reason Sun Prairie reached the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Wisconsin has offered scholarships to three players in the 2020 class: Johnson, shooting guard Ethan Morton (Butler, Pa.) and combo guard Jonathan Davis (La Crosse, Wis.).
CB Semar Melvin reschedules Wisconsin visit
Semar Melvin, a 5-10 1/2, 163-pound cornerback from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has rescheduled his visit to Madison and will now make the trip June 15-17. He previously was expected to visit June 6.
— II (@SemarMelvin) April 11, 2018
Melvin has 16 scholarship offers, including from Kentucky, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, UCF and Virginia. Melvin, a 3-star prospect, is rated as the No. 46 cornerback in the nation for the 2019 class.