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.
2019 RB Steele Chambers receives Badgers offer
Steele Chambers, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound running back from Blessed Trinity Catholic in Roswell, Ga., garnered significant attention for his play as a sophomore last season. Count Wisconsin among those schools that will be paying even closer attention during his junior campaign.
Wisconsin became the latest school to offer Chambers a scholarship Aug. 3. Chambers holds 13 offers: Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.
— Murf D. Baldwin (@MurfBaldwin) August 4, 2017
Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin told Land of 10 that Chambers’ football acumen matches his character off the field.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of good players in my career,” said McFarlin, who is in his 35th season coaching high school football in Georgia. “What you hope for with a highly talented player is that there’ll be something else that’s special that goes along with that. And Steele is one of those guys. You talk to Steele, you see him in school. He’s everything that you would want him to be.”
McFarlin said Chambers is a “model student” who carries a grade-point average in the neighborhood of 3.8.
“When you talk about Steele, he’s not a guy that really promotes himself a lot,” McFarlin said. “As a matter of fact, I think he’s a little uncomfortable with some of that. He would really rather his mom handle some of that. He just wants to go to school, go to class, do his work and play football.”
As a sophomore, Chambers rushed for 1,486 yards and 21 touchdowns to help his team win 10 games and reach the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. McFarlin said Wisconsin running backs coach John Settle visited the school during the spring. Settle, who played college football at Appalachian State and in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, has recruiting ties in the Georgia area.
“We met for quite a while,” McFarlin said. “I do remember him saying, ‘Hey, this is a kid that we’re really interested in. We’re going to talk about it and we want Wisconsin to be on his radar.’ ”
McFarlin said Chambers and his family took a West Coast trip this summer to visit schools such as Stanford, Cal, Southern Cal and UCLA. Chambers also has visited Michigan. McFarlin noted Wisconsin’s reputation for producing quality tailbacks has Chambers’ attention at this early stage. He also said Chambers won’t try to make a college decision in the near future.
“Of course we’re familiar with Wisconsin football,” McFarlin said. “All the way back to the [Barry] Alvarez days. So it’s good stuff and they’re well thought of. I’d just say for Steele, I would not dare step out and try to say here’s his priority list. Right now there’s a lot of high school football for him to be played. So we want to be careful. He’s fully focused on that.”
Wisconsin previously offered three other running backs in the 2019 class: Nay’quan Wright (Opa-locka, Fla.), Joachim Bangda (Washington, D.C.) and Patrick Garwo (Fairless Hills, Pa.). Chambers appears to be the type of tailback who would fit in with the Badgers’ bruising style.
“In the high school game, so much of it is going to shotgun and spread,” McFarlin said. “But we’re still 21 personnel. We’re still tight end, fullback, tailback, in the I, running downhill. I think part of that is part of the attraction on Steele’s part when it comes to Wisconsin. We’re not too different from what you guys do. And Steele is a bigger back. He’s not a scat back. He’s a big kid.”
Chambers is rated as a 4-star prospect, per the 247Sports composite rankings, and the No. 21 player in Georgia. Given Chambers’ immense talent, McFarlin said he would have to find new ways to challenge his star player in practice as he enters his junior season. But Blessed Trinity plays a difficult schedule against larger classification teams that feature several Division I players, which will provide Chambers with an opportunity to showcase his skill level.
By the end of the season, he’ll have the attention of even more major FBS programs.
“Steele is a very coachable young man, a quiet young man, and a very bright young man,” McFarlin said. “So we’re excited about his future. I don’t know where it’s going to be, but it’s got a chance to be pretty good wherever it is.”
2018 OL Jackson Carman includes Wisconsin in 5 official visits list
One of the most coveted players in the 2018 class is about to embark on a whirlwind 4 1/2 months during which he will take all five of his official visits and pick a school by the end of December.
Jackson Carman, a 5-star prospect who is ranked as the top offensive tackle in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings, has said he intends to graduate early and enroll in college in January after he participates in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Carman, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound senior from Fairfield, Ohio, listed Florida State, Wisconsin, Southern Cal, Clemson and Ohio State as the five schools he plans to visit during his senior season.
“I don’t think I’ll go to one and not visit the others and be like, ‘Oh, that’s the place,’ ” Carman told Scout.com writer Bill Greene following a scrimmage on Saturday. “I’ve got the list, and [I’ll] check off the list.”
Carman said he was looking for several factors when determining how to separate one school from the others.
“Somewhere where I think I can maximize my potential and at the same time be able to get the best college experience, being able to make new friends, get a great degree,” Carman said. “Somewhere that I would want to be at if I wasn’t playing football.”
Carman has collected 41 scholarship offers during his recruitment, and Ohio State is considered the frontrunner. Carman unofficially visited Ohio State three times last October and November and again on April 15. He attended a Buckeyes football camp July 21. Wisconsin offered Carman on April 18, 2016.
To understand just how physically dominant Carman is at the high school level, check out these highlights of the Saturday scrimmage from Mark Givler, who is a recruiting analyst for BuckeyeGrove.com.
Carman’s strength allows him to not only push defenders backward but also to toss them to the turf with ease. It’s no wonder college coaches and fans at programs across the country have been salivating for months about the possibility of landing Carman.
Despite his dominance at the prep level, Carman said he could continue to improve in several areas, including making his sets in pass protection more fluid.
“I’m a bit heavier, but I’m still developing my game technically and physically as I get stronger,” Carman said. “Especially for O-linemen because it’s such a technical position, the game is always evolving, so you can always get better.”
Basketball prospects climb in recruiting rankings
Wisconsin’s basketball program has much work remaining if it wants to land 2018 prospect Nate Laszewski and 2020 talent Jalen Johnson. That task will continue to grow as both players gain the attention of more college programs and recruiting services. In the past week, each player saw his recruiting stock climb even higher.
Laszewski, a 6-foot-10, 190-pound forward from Northfield, Mass., ranked as the No. 171 prospect in the 2018 class two months ago, per the 247Sports composite rankings. But after a monster summer with the New England Playaz on the AAU circuit, Laszewski has cracked the top 100 in all three major recruiting website rankings. He came in at No. 99 via Rivals, No. 97 by 247Sports, and No. 94 by Scout. Laszewski earned a Wisconsin scholarship offer July 28. Arizona and Indiana offered him the same day.
Johnson, meanwhile, is only beginning his recruitment. But in the initial 247Sports composite rankings for the 2020 class, he came in at No. 8 in the country. Johnson, a 6-7, 170-pound forward from Sun Prairie, Wis., is the top player in the state. According to Evan Flood of Badger247.com, “Johnson’s composite rating of 98.20 is currently the highest from the state of Wisconsin since Sam Dekker (99.51) in the 2012 class.”
Johnson has offers from Wisconsin and Marquette, but he’s also being pursued by Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky, among others.
Both Johnson and Laszewski attended Wisconsin’s basketball practice last Wednesday, as did 2018 commit Tyler Herro and 2019 prospect Nobal Days.