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 not done recruiting in 2018 class
Wisconsin appeared to have most of its 2018 recruiting class wrapped up by early July. But the Badgers are making a late push to land another cornerback: Donte Burton, a 6-foot, 174-pound senior from Loganville, Ga.
On Monday morning, Badgers running backs coach John Settle met with Burton, who then took to Twitter to thank Settle for the visit.
— Donte Burton #4 (@burton_donte) September 18, 2017
Settle, who played college football at Appalachian State and in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, has significant recruiting ties in the Georgia area. And Burton liked what he had to say.
“He basically was saying that they’re in need of a corner and that I’m the top priority on their board and that basically I would be an early impact player to help their team right away,” Burton told Land of 10. “Really, that’s music to my ears. That’s what I wanted to hear. I hope to just take it all in on a visit, meet the coaches, meet different people, view the gameday experiences and things like that.”
Burton confirmed that he would use one of his official visits this fall on Wisconsin for the team’s home game against Northwestern on Sept. 30. Burton will visit Missouri this weekend and Notre Dame on Oct. 21 to see the Fighting Irish play USC.
Most recruiting experts in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions believe Burton will choose Notre Dame. He has 27 scholarship offers, which includes Big Ten schools Wisconsin, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana. Notre Dame, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wake Forest are among other schools to have offered him a scholarship.
Burton initially committed to North Carolina on July 31, 2016, but he de-committed April 13, 2017. Wisconsin offered Burton a scholarship on May 10, and he has followed the Badgers closely since then, focusing on how first-year defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard uses his defense.
“If I like a team, I’ll watch all their games,” Burton said. “I just go on YouTube and I watch all their games to see how they’re doing. I’ve probably seen every Wisconsin game for the past two years. I just go through and see where I would fit in the defense and I feel like Wisconsin’s defense, the way that they’re schemed, they play a lot of press, and that’s one of my specialties.
“I love press coverage. I love what Coach Leonhard does with his corners. They really pride themselves on technique and stuff like that. That’s what I pride myself on. Really, I just want to get up there and experience it for myself.”
Donte Burton’s junior season highlights
Burton noted he was aware of Leonhard’s history as a 10-year NFL player and had communicated via texts and phone calls “a couple times.”
“I’m sure that relationship will get stronger as time goes on and I come up there and see how everything is done and how he runs the defense in person,” Burton said.
Burton’s Loganville team is 0-4 to start the season, but he said few opposing quarterbacks have thrown his way. He noted that he has 3 interceptions so far.
“I think I have pretty good ball skills,” Burton said. “People in my region, they don’t try me that many times. But when they do try me, it’s usually a pick or I make a play on the ball. This year, I’ve probably been targeted maybe three or four times. Because they just don’t throw it to my side. Every time they throw it to my side, I’ve picked it off.”
Wisconsin has two cornerbacks committed in its 2018 class: Alexander Smith (Culver City, Calif.) and Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas).
Badgers hit the 2019 recruiting trail hard
Wisconsin’s bye week allowed the coaching staff ample opportunity to see high school prospects and offer scholarships. Based on the number of players tweeting out Wisconsin offers, the Badgers have been busy.
Players who received scholarship offers this week are defensive tackle Antonio Alfano (Rahway, N.J.), defensive tackle Rodas Johnson (Columbus, Ohio), quarterback Graham Mertz (Mission, Kan.), quarterback Paul Tyson (Trussville, Ala.), offensive guard Zeke Correll (Cincinnati, Ohio), cornerback Wynston Russell (Flossmoor, Ill.) and running back Devyn Ford (Stafford, Va.).
Here’s a quick rundown on each of those prospects:
Alfano is a 5-star prospect who ranks as the No. 1 player in New Jersey. He has 23 scholarship offers, including from Ohio State, Penn State and Alabama. Alfano, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound junior, unofficially visited Penn State last weekend, and 247Sports lists him as leaning toward the Nittany Lions.
Honored and Privileged to receive a scholarship offer to the University of Wisconsin!! pic.twitter.com/W982HuZ4OP
— Antonio Alfano (@Antonioalfano99) September 20, 2017
Johnson is ranked as the No. 12 defensive tackle in the country, has 18 scholarship offers and unofficially visited Ohio State last weekend. Early indications are that Notre Dame is in the lead for him.
— Rodas Johnson (@onlyrodas10) September 20, 2017
Mertz now has two scholarship offers, from Wisconsin and Kansas. He is generating interest from Indiana, Iowa and Kansas State. Mertz threw for 259 yards with 6 touchdown passes and no interceptions for Blue Valley North in its season-opening victory against Blue Valley Northwest.
— Graham Mertz (@GrahamMertz5) September 20, 2017
Tyson tweeted about his scholarship offer on Thursday. He is rated as the No. 13 pro-style quarterback in the nation, per the 247Sports composite. Tyson has 11 scholarship offers, including one from Notre Dame. Alabama and Clemson have yet to offer but are showing interest.
Extremely blessed to receive an offer from the University of Wisconsin‼️All Glory to God!🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/tLyWhU85L0
— Paul Tyson (@Paul_Tyson17) September 21, 2017
Correll attended two Ohio State camps in the summer, and the Buckeyes are considered his frontrunner. He holds 13 scholarship offers, which include Big Ten schools Wisconsin, Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern.
— Zeke Correll (@zekecorrell) September 19, 2017
Russell is ranked as the No. 8 player in Illinois for the 2019 class. He is early in his recruitment and has offers from Wisconsin, Iowa State, Western Michigan, Massachusetts and UCLA.
— Wynston Russell (@___WR3) September 19, 2017
Ford is one of the most coveted running backs in the country and ranks No. 4 at his position nationally, according to the 247Sports composite. He has 28 scholarship offers, and his leaders appear to be Virginia Tech and Clemson. Ford carried 19 times for 228 yards and 4 touchdowns in his team’s season opener. He added 231 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns in his team’s last game, a 70-27 victory.
5-star OT Jackson Carman discusses official visits
Jackson Carman, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle from Fairfield, Ohio, is rated as the No. 1 tackle in the country, per the 247Sports composite. As he hones in on his college choice, Wisconsin remains firmly in contention.
Carman will use all of his five official visits in the next three months to see Wisconsin, Ohio State, Florida State, USC and Clemson. Following a ceremony honoring his official invitation to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he shared his visit schedule with Scout.com writer Bill Greene.
First up on the docket, Carman said, is a visit to see Wisconsin’s home game against Northwestern on Sept. 30. He will visit Ohio State when the Buckeyes play host to Penn State on Oct. 28 and has a trip set up for Florida State in November, as well as Clemson and USC in early December.
Carman, who holds 41 scholarship offers, intends on enrolling early at whatever school he chooses so he can participate in winter workouts beginning in January.
“I think about that all the time, and it kind of excites me a little bit, get some competition,” Carman told Greene. “Be able to grow more as a player, going against people that are physically superior to me at that moment and have a lot more experience. There’s a lot to learn.”
Carman noted his strength as a player was his intelligence and ability to understand the playbook. He hopes to improve on his overall technique, strength and speed.
Carman has long been considered a favorite to play at Ohio State, but his recent comments about the program on Twitter have made waves in the recruiting world. He first tweeted that Ohio State should give backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins an opportunity to play after J.T. Barrett struggled in a loss against Oklahoma. When ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit tweeted that it wasn’t his place to make such a statement, Carman responded with this tweet:
Pretty sure I wouldn't have any problems in Dabo Swinney's or Clay Helton's locker room for my OPINION on OSU's qb issues. 🤔 https://t.co/FMVwGpAJ2J
— T H E J I A N T (@Jackthejiant) September 13, 2017
So, what will determine how Carman chooses one of his five finalists?
“Probably somewhere that I feel the most comfortable living at,” Carman said. “Somewhere that I’m going to be able to focus on my goals and be the most successful for my future plans.”
You can see the full interview here: