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.
Badgers QB commit Graham Mertz shines at Elite 11 Atlanta
Wisconsin quarterback commit Graham Mertz participated in the Elite 11 Atlanta regional over the weekend. Based on reports, Mertz performed quite well.
According to Barton Simmons of 247Sports, Mertz “may have the most upside of any quarterback on hand. He’s got a quick release, didn’t struggle with the wind and can deliver strikes downfield.”
Mertz, a 4-star prospect, is the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. He helped lead Blue Valley North (Kan.) High School to a state championship in his junior season, when he threw for 3,684 yards with 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
When Mertz committed to Wisconsin on Oct. 8, he held three scholarship offers — from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. He has earned 14 more scholarship offers, including from Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oregon, Michigan, Miami and Texas A&M.
Mertz told reporters that he stopped by Georgia’s campus while he was in the area to watch spring practice. He told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports that schools such as LSU and Texas A&M continue to check in on him but noted he was still firmly committed to Wisconsin.
The Michigan Insider posted an interview with Mertz in which he said he would be taking a spring official visit back to Madison that would include all of the 2019 committed prospects. Mertz said Michigan quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, as well as coach Jim Harbaugh, were in constant contact with him about trying to secure a visit to Ann Arbor.
However, Michigan recently picked up a commitment from 4-star quarterback Cade McNamara, the No. 9 quarterback in the 2019 class.
“They want two quarterbacks in this class,” Mertz said. “Personally, I don’t see myself going to a two-quarterback system, but it’s always interesting to hear what coaches have to say.”
You can check out the full interview here:
Mertz is the only committed quarterback in Wisconsin’s 2019 recruiting class. He has developed strong ties with Badgers quarterbacks coach Jon Budmayr and coach Paul Chryst
“You can’t go wrong with the education, the game-day experience, the amount of support the fans have for the team and then just the players on the team,” Mertz told Land of 10 in January. “Coach Chryst is a great guy. Coach Budmayr, our relationship, all three of us, it’s just getting stronger. We’re going to get this ’19 recruiting class going.”
Mertz is no stranger to excelling on the big stage. In January, he was invited to participate in the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio. The combine featured 650 underclassmen from 2019, 2020 and 2021 who took part in testing, camp drills and 1-on-1 competitions. Wiltfong named Mertz to his honorable mention team as the second-best quarterback at the combine.
Hoops signee Taylor Currie wins state title
Wisconsin basketball signee Taylor Currie ended his high school career on a high note, helping Clarkston win back-to-back Michigan Class A state championships. Clarkston defeated Holland West Ottawa 81-38 in a drubbing so bad that it required a running clock. Clarkston closed the season 26-1.
Currie, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward, finished the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He made 6 of 9 field-goal attempts, including a 3-pointer. In a semifinal victory against Warren De La Salle, Currie registered 16 points and 12 rebounds. Currie was a double-double machine during Clarkston’s five playoff games. In that stretch, he averaged 12.6 points and 12.2 rebounds.
— Jared Purcell (@JaredPurcellDET) March 25, 2018
Clarkston finished the last two seasons 57-2, with Currie a major factor in the team’s success. Last season, he averaged 9 points, 8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as a sophomore. He then reclassified in the offseason from the 2019 recruiting class to the 2018 class and bypassed his junior season.
Currie is originally from Ohio and attended Worthington Christian High School for his freshman season before his family moved to Michigan. He said Worthington was an academically advanced school that allowed him to move ahead in his high school credits. Currie turned 17 in August.
Currie committed to Wisconsin in late October and told Land of 10 at the time that his plan was to take a redshirt season at Wisconsin in 2018-19. As of now, the Badgers are set to return front-court players Aleem Ford, Ethan Happ, Nate Reuvers, Alex Illikainen and Charlie Thomas. Happ, Illikainen and Thomas all would be seniors, meaning Currie could see playing time in the 2019-20 season after they use up their eligibility.
“Nothing is set in stone,” said Currie, who signed with the Badgers in November. “But the plan right now is to come in next year and redshirt. I’m a bit younger for a senior, so coming in and having the year to learn the swing and do things the way they do them at Wisconsin, I feel like I would have an opportunity my freshman year after that redshirt to be able to contribute to the team right away.”
WR signee Isaac Guerendo wins race in meet record
Wisconsin wide receiver signee Isaac Guerendo set a meet record with a 60-meter dash time of 6.76 seconds at the Hoosier State Relays. According to the Avon (Ind.) High School track and field Twitter account, that mark represents the ninth-fastest time in the nation this year.
Guerendo also won the long jump title with a leap of 22 feet, 11 inches. He told MileSplit Indiana that his goal is to set the state record in the long jump this year. As a junior, Guerendo won the long jump state championship with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches. The state record is 24 feet, 7 inches.
Meet record! 60m 6.76! State Champion ! pic.twitter.com/BI58YHUWgK
— Jen Guerendo (@JenGuerendo) March 24, 2018
On the football field, Guerendo put together a spectacular senior season. He caught 54 passes for 1,258 yards and 16 touchdowns to help Avon win a regional title. Guerendo earned the Indiana Mr. Football position award as the state’s top wide receiver.
The 6-1, 195-pound Guerendo made huge gains in his football acumen between his junior and senior seasons. Opposing coaches said he wasn’t even a focal point on scouting reports the week of a game as a junior.
“He was kind of just a track guy that was playing football,” Brownsburg High (Ind.) football coach John Hart told Land of 10 in September. “And what he is now, he’s a great football player that has track speed. He’s going to be as good as anybody in the country because he has size and speed.”
Badgers offer 2020 RB Jalen Berger
Wisconsin has had some pretty good success recruiting high school running backs in New Jersey (see Ron Dayne and Jonathan Taylor). Now, the Badgers hope to connect on their latest offer to a New Jersey tailback: Jalen Berger
Very Excited to receive an Offer from The University of Wisconsin‼️ pic.twitter.com/D0KDYm2Lqb
— Jalen Berger (@JalenBerger) March 22, 2018
Berger is a 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. He is rated by 247Sports as a 4-star prospect, the No. 2 player in New Jersey and the No. 8 athlete in the country for his class.
Berger holds 20 scholarship offers, from schools that include Alabama, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. He is scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Florida on April 5.
Don Bosco finished just 2-8 in the 2017 season, but Berger was a load for opposing defenses to handle, scoring 15 touchdowns on the ground. He rushed for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 29-26 loss to powerhouse rival Bergen Catholic, which went on to win a state championship.
Wisconsin has offered four other running backs in the 2020 class: Zachary Evans (Houston), Kendall Milton (Clovis, Calif.), Jase McClellan (Aledo, Texas) and Miles Friday (Stone Mountain, Ga.). McClellan is committed to Oklahoma.