At least since Paul Chryst has taken over, the first couple of weeks of June have been major opportunities and, for the most part, successes on the recruiting trail for the University of Wisconsin football program.
Madison, Wisconsin sells itself with the beautiful weather, scenery and natural charm of the city taking over and drawing in potential Badgers. While there have yet to be any commitments from last weekend, it is believed that the first official visit weekend put multiple high priority targets in good positions to be future Badgers.
With that said, another crop of prospects are coming this weekend and recruiting is often a dynamic dependent on momentum. The Wisconsin Badgers could see a slew of new additions coming in the near future. Let’s take a look! *
* again, this article will be more of from a football perspective – position fits and archetypes and whatnot.
Current Badgers Commits
If you read our preview article last week, or if you’ve followed Wisconsin recruiting to any real extent in the 2023 class thus far, you’ll know that for the first time maybe ever, people in Wisconsin are looking to bring people from the Chicagoland up into Wisconsin (low hanging fruit, I’m sorry).
Last weekend, the Badgers hosted DB Kahlil Tate (Kenwood Academy) and OT Christopher Terek (Glenbard West) from the Chicago area, along with Badger commit LB Tyler Jansey (Batavia).
This weekend, the Badgers have three already committed prospects on campus, including in-state running back Nate White (Milwaukee Rufus King), but also, shocker, Chicago area DL Roderick Pierce (Brother Rice) and DB Justin Taylor (Nazareth Academy).
White, one of two running backs committed in this class, is the only in-state prospect currently offered by Wisconsin, but should be able to help bring the class together and forge relationships.
Pierce and Taylor, however, happen to be childhood friends with DL Jamel Howard (Marist) who is coming this weekend. Taylor was also reportedly on campus last weekend ($) as well to help his good pal Tate find his way around the UW campus. If you check out Taylor’s Twitter account, you’ll also find that he is actively recruiting players to join him in Madison.
It’s clearly a concerted effort, not only by Wisconsin, but at this point with the current commits too, that they’re making an attempt to invade the Chicagoland area and scour the Lincoln Land for future Badgers.
A crop of Illinois recruits could look like: Jansey (ILB), Taylor (S), Pierce (DL), Howard (NT), Tate (S) and St. Rita (I) LB Matt Kingsbury has also been reportedly receiving interest from UW.
Very nice. Very evil.
Corners! Corners as far as the eye can see.
With a concentrated cornerbacks coach last season in former NFL player Hank Poteat, Wisconsin had the third ranked pass defense nationally. However, it’s a position on the roster that has faced a good amount of attrition since last season.
Which brings us to the three prospects that Wisconsin will have on campus weekend.
We’ll start with 4-star (by 247Sports) Braeden Marshall (Lake Mary, Fla.) Out of Lake Mary High School. Marshall is listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. I mentioned last week, that Wisconsin, while not turning away athletes in this vain, don’t seem to be consumed by the concept of tall, lanky corners at all costs. Between defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and Poteat, they feel as though (presumably) they can find talent and coach them up.
Kennesaw, Georgia native (North Cobb HS) CB Quentin Ajiero will also be in Madison, though all three Crystal Ball picks for him, including from Badger247’s Evan Flood, are for Georgia Tech. Another smaller (?) Corner prospect at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Ajeiro, like Marshall, projects as an outside corner.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is AJ Tidsdell of College Station, Texas (College Station HS). Another similarly sized corner at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds. Tisdell is potentially on Commit Watch with a good weekend visit in Madison, per sources.
I mentioned earlier about these guys projecting as outside corners, and I wanted to expand on that bit. A lot of fans, not always incorrectly, assume that the smaller corners play in the slot. However, something else to consider is that when you’re in the slot, you’re likely a part of the run fit, or defense’s designed way of stopping the run. Just because you’re small doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined for the slot for this reason.
Last year we saw the Badgers bring in Avyonne Jones from Texas and A’Khoury Lyde from New Jersey, two good tackling corners who could potentially play in the slot. So while a lack of size could indicate a move inside, it doesn’t necessarily demand that.
With Texas OL Ian Reed committing to Clemson this week, it’s safe to assume he won’t be taking his official visit to Wisconsin this weekend.
So the final three players on the visit are:
- Jamel Howard, DL from Marist HS in Chicago. Howard is listed at 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, and while Pierce and the other defensive linemen that Wisconsin had on campus last weekend (Ashton Sanders and My’Keil Gardner) are seen as guys that can play up and down the defensive line , Howard is a nose tackle through and through for the Wisconsin 3-4 defense. Something that you NEED to properly run this scheme, and a Wisconsin spot has been spoiled at with Keeanu Benton. Howard would be a majorly needed size and talent boost to this spot.
- Collin Dixon, an athlete from Tallmadge HS in Tallmadge, Ohio will also be in town. A 3-star recruit, Dixon is being recruited by UW as a wide receiver. He’s been a player that Wisconsin has been on for quite some time, and could be a potential quick commit if he enjoys his time in Madison.
- Lastly, Jordan Mayer. Mayer is a pass rusher from Thomas Jefferson HS in Clairton, Pa. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he’d be an outside linebacker in UW’s scheme for coach Bobby April to mold and work with. Mayer was previously committed to Boston College, but could be another potential commit watch for Badger fans. (Editor’s note: after Owen turned this in, Mayer announced that he’ll be committing on June 27.)
With only two visitors scheduled for the weekend of June 17 at the moment, Wisconsin is taking their big two home run swings in this first two weekends. They’ve spent to be fruitful in the past, let’s see how to pan out for this class.