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.
In-state linebacker Leo Chenal’s commitment impact
Wisconsin offered a scholarship to its second in-state 2019 prospect in as many weeks on Saturday, when linebacker Leo Chenal (Grantsburg, Wis.) earned an offer. Less than 24 hours later, he committed to join the Badgers.
— Leo Chenal (@LeoChenal) September 9, 2017
In doing so, Chenal becomes Wisconsin’s first commitment in the 2019 class. And the Badgers are getting a player capable of impacting the game in multiple ways. Grantsburg football coach Adam Hale told Land of 10 that Chenal has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and defensive tackle. He also plays running back and is the team’s top receiving threat.
Hale said that Chenal, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior, was recruited to Wisconsin as a linebacker. But he is capable of playing more than one position, as evidenced by the damage he has done for Grantsburg at multiple spots.
According to the Burnett County Sentinel, Chenal opened the season with 171 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns in a 72-52 victory against Cumberland. He also added 8 solo tackles at linebacker. In Grantsburg’s 41-0 Week 3 victory against Webster on Friday, Chenal had 43 yards rushing with 1 touchdown to go with 79 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns while only playing about half the game. Defensively, he tallied 8 solo tackles with 3 assists.
Wisconsin’s coaching staff generally wants to evaluate a player based on his first three or four games during his junior season, and Hale said Chenal did more than enough to impress the Badgers. Wisconsin special teams coach Chris Haering, the lead recruiter on Chenal, extended the scholarship offer.
“I think it was key just to re-emphasize for them what he can do,” Hale said. “He tests out so well with his strength and his jumping and his speed. They just wanted to make sure that he was off to the same kind of start they thought he could have. He had a great first three games. I know that stuck out right away and reassured them that he was a good recruit.”
Chenal’s Wisconsin scholarship offer represented his first at the FBS level. He previously earned an offer from South Dakota State of the FCS. Hale said Iowa was likely close to offering a scholarship. Minnesota was paying attention to his early-season games, as were FCS schools North Dakota and North Dakota State. Chenal unofficially visited Iowa on June 5, Wisconsin on June 12 and Minnesota on July 29.
Grantsburg is ranked No. 2 in the state in Division 6 behind St. Mary’s Springs and has its sights set on a special season. The Pirates are 23-2 in the last two seasons but have lost in the playoffs to the eventual state champion in each season: St. Mary’s Springs in 2015 and Eau Claire Regis in 2016.
Chenal and his older brother, John, have been absolutely dominant for Grantsburg early this season. John, a 2018 prospect, committed to North Dakota in early August. He rushed for 435 yards with 6 touchdowns in Grantsburg’s season opener and ranks fifth in the state in total rushing yards.
Hale is eager to see what Leo Chenal can become and believes Wisconsin is getting a player who will represent the state well.
“He’s just a great kid,” Hale said. “Very polite. Very respectful. Hard working. Does the extra things. Isn’t afraid to help clean up stuff without being asked. He doesn’t think he’s above any of that. Just kind of a complete student-athlete.”
Here are Chenal’s Hudl highlights from his sophomore season:
Two out-of-state prospects earn football scholarship offers
While Wisconsin’s 2018 recruiting class appears to be mostly wrapped up, the Badgers’ coaching staff continues to focus on 2019 prospects. This weekend, Wisconsin extended scholarship offers to two players that already have earned plenty of attention from college programs.
Andrew Kristofic, a 6-6, 245-pound offensive tackle from Gibsonia, Pa., and Keon Zipperer, a 6-2.5, 232-pound tight end from Lakeland, Fla., tweeted that they received Badgers offers.
Thankful and excited to receive an offer from the University of Wisconsin 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/mhLDn8j642
— Andrew Kristofic (@AKristofic21) September 10, 2017
— RemainHumbleKe✨ (@_KeonZ) September 11, 2017
Kristofic now has eight official scholarship offers — from Wisconsin, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, West Virginia, Toledo, Buffalo and Akron, as well as an offer to play at Ivy League school Princeton. He unofficially visited Penn State last weekend for the Nittany Lions’ 33-14 victory against Pitt. He attended camps this summer at Michigan State and Penn State. Kristofic told 247Sports he also intends to visit Penn State for its next home game against Georgia State.
He said he hopes to visit Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, West Virginia and Wisconsin for games this fall. Kristofic’s father, David, played on the offensive and defensive line for Pitt from 1989-93.
Zipperer, meanwhile, now holds 18 scholarship offers: Wisconsin, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Tennessee, Texas A&M and South Florida.
Zipperer told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi last month that Florida was his leader. Zipperer said Tim Tebow and Chris Rainey were his favorite Florida players growing up.
“I’ve been liking them since I was little. Just everything about them,” Zipperer said. “That’s my dream school.”
Two wide receiver commits have monster days
A.J. Abbott and Isaac Guerendo demonstrated during their most recent high school games why Wisconsin’s coaching staff is so high on each player. Neither wide receiver could be stopped during a pair of blowout victories.
According to MLive.com, Abbott tallied 209 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns during West Bloomfield’s 49-21 victory against Lake Orion. Two of Abbott’s touchdowns went for 92 and 66 yards. He also averaged 34.8 yards per catch. The D Zone reported that Abbott actually had 270 receiving yards with 4 touchdowns in the game.
Abbott and teammate Taj Mustapha, who are both 2018 Badgers commits, were among the players to watch Wisconsin defeat Florida Atlantic 31-14 on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.
— Taj Mustapha (@taj_m22) September 9, 2017
Guerendo, meanwhile, continues to absolutely obliterate the competition in Indiana. According to the Indianapolis Star, Guerendo caught seven passes for 222 yards with 3 touchdowns during Avon’s 62-27 victory against Brownsburg. His touchdown catches came on passes of 30, 67 and 16 yards.
Here’s a look at Guerendo’s 30-yard score, in which he shakes off one defender before racing down the sideline for a touchdown.
— Dylan Trimpe (@Trimp3) September 8, 2017
In four games this season, Guerendo has 22 catches for 563 yards with 8 touchdowns and is averaging 140.8 receiving yards per game.
Other Badgers commits in the 2018 recruiting class also impressed this past week. Jaylan Franklin’s Gibraltar Carlson team crushed Taylor Kennedy 71-14. He scored his team’s first 2 touchdowns on an 11-yard run and a 19-yard interception return.
Wisconsin quarterback commit Chase Wolf led his St. Xavier team to a 50-7 victory against Walnut Hills. According to Cincinnati.com, he completed 7 of 9 passes for 2 touchdowns. Check out one of Wolf’s touchdown passes, which featured an impressive scramble before he found a receiver in the end zone.
— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) September 9, 2017
Running back Nakia Watson’s Austin (Texas) Westlake team hammered the Niceville (Fla.) Eagles 66-7 on Friday. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Watson rushed for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Last week, Watson opened his season with 228 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in a 35-28 victory against College Station.