With spring football out of the way, coaches and recruiting staff are hitting the trail hard and fast on behalf of the Wisconsin Badgers. Itâ€™s also been a minute since we updated you on exactly what is going on with UW out on the 2016 recruiting trail.
It will be Paul Chrystâ€™s first class all of his own making, as he has been able to keep top 10 running back Antonio Williams in the fold of his own volition. So, clues on how Chryst and his staff will recruit and to where the Badgers are going to plant their flags are also being gained.
One are of major concern going forward is where the next stars on the offensive side of the football are going to come. Quarterback Joel Stave is gone after this season, running back Corey Clement could be gone with a massive season and the biggest star of this offensive line, Tyler Marz, is also going to be gone as well.
That makes the 2016 recruiting class vital to UWâ€™s future success. So, with spring ball out of the way, where do the Badgers stand on the recruiting trail?
Letâ€™s start with a look at the 2016 recruiting chart as a reminder of how this class could fill out.
Wisconsin targeted one quarterback in this class as a staff, and they got their man in three-star pro-style QB Kareâ€™ Lyles out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro high school. Heâ€™s been in the fold since March 15, and heâ€™s also been a massive help to recruiting others in to the 2016 class (VIP). So, any thoughts of him flipping seem very slim.
It also helps that Lyles is a Badgers legacy and has many family members and friends in the Madison area. Expect him to be a catalyst for how this class comes together in the coming months.
Letâ€™s start with the good news in this department, as the now No. 8-ranked running back in the 2016 class, Antonio Williams, is all in on the Badgers. Some worried that as time went on he may flake out or come under the spell of his former recruiter, Thomas Brown, and head off to Georgia.
However, he has spoken to multiple sources in the past few weeks that all say he is 100 percent on board and even if other schools are trying, itâ€™s a futile effort.
Williams is easily one of the most vocal backers of the Badgers, especially via social media. Heâ€™ll even be visiting the campus during the summer, per his own Twitter feed.
As for other potential backs in the mix…some were freaked out by the recruitment of the nationâ€™s No. 1-ranked all-purpose back,Â Damian Alloway. However, things are a lot clearer now, as the Badgers are actually recruiting him to play wide receiver at the next level.
So, no need to freak out at all â€” the Badgers need just one running back and theyâ€™ve got their man in Williams.
If there is one position with the most change since Chryst and his staff have come on board, it is here at wide receiver. The Badgers continue to cast a wide net at the position and are clearly looking to find more and more playmakers.
Recent offers include those to names like four-star playerÂ Tino EllisÂ (DeMatha Catholic); and three-star players like Keyshawn Young (Miami, FL), Kofi Boateng (Arlington, TX), Tariq Young (Lakeland, FL) and Demari Simpkins (Hollywood, FL) to name a few.
However, the name to watch appears to be four-star athleteÂ A.J. Taylor, who is being recruited as a wide receiver by UW and took a visit to the school during the spring. He came back very impressed and wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore has been all over him to attempt to close the deal. This is one player to watch for an early commitment before the fall rolls around.
Wisconsin could use a tight end in the 2016 class, but it hasnâ€™t been a big priority with adding two major gets in the 2015 class. Most of the names at this position have blown up. However, the Badgers are in the mix for four-star tight endÂ Naseir UpshurÂ (but donâ€™t count on him coming to Madison).
The Badgers did offer four-star Luke Farrell in March, but could be fighting an uphill battle agains the home state Buckeyes.
Overall, this isnâ€™t the biggest priority to date, so expect more movement on the offers front once other positions and the overall class begin to take more shape.
All eyes are on (man do I miss Tupac)…five-star in-state prospect Ben Bredeson these days. Heâ€™s been a wide pick to the Badgers according to the 247Sports crystal ball predictions, but things appear to be really tight between UW, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Our partner, Evan Flood, of Badger247 hasnâ€™t backed off his crystal ball pick to the Badgers just yet, so thatâ€™s the good news. The bad news is both Michigan and Notre Dame sites feel they are in the lead as well.
Clearly few actually know where Bredensonâ€™s leanings really lie. However, he will have a decision within the next month most likely, as he has one visit left â€” to Ohio State â€” and Urban Meyer has a strange way of working magic out of thin air when players are on campus.
Outside of that news, there hasnâ€™t been a lot of movement at the position. With just three spots likely to be filled in this class, that shouldnâ€™t be all too surprising. Once Bredeson and Bay Portâ€™s Cole Van Lanen make their choices things will begin to get really clear along the offensive line.
Still, the Badgers have begun to separate themselves for a few other prospects, and one offensive tackle name to watch should things fall through with Bredeson and/or Van Lanen appears to be Devery Hamilton.
*all recruiting information via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.