Badgers 2016 football scholarship needs

The beauty and curse of following along with the college football recruiting world is that it really never ends. National signing day is less than 48 hours old and the schools, recruiting sites and high school coaches are on to the task of lining up the class of 2016.

So, why not join the fray ourselves, right?

First off, based on what took place yesterday on national signing day here’s how we anticipate the 2016 scholarship distribution list to look like:




So, with that information in mind, let’s take a look at the Badgers and what may happen in the class of 2016. We won’t be making guesses on actual names outside of the one that has already committed because it is so early in the process.

Instead you will find a look at the names the Badgers have already offered and the need at each position group too. Here is a look at the Badgers 2016 football scholarship needs.

*all information courtesy our recruiting partners at Badger247

2016 Class Information:
Offers Out: 91
Class Size: 19 (minimum to get to 85), like to to be 22-25 when its all done

Position Breakdowns:


Early Name to Know: Nate Stanley (not pictured above)
Players Gone After 2015: Joel Stave
Offers Out: 7
Players Needed: 1

While the Badgers may technically have put out offers to a number of products, the reality is the new coaching staff in place has and will really change the recruiting board in the coming weeks and months. Don’t expect any of the names currently here to even be on the Badgers radar come late spring.

Those in the know have indicated that Stanley has been offered by this current coaching staff and is one of the top targets. Problem is, the Menomonie, Wis. native has been recruited hard by rival Iowa and has been verbally committed the Hawkeyes for over a year at this point. Look for the Badgers offer to really make the young man think hard about that commitment.

Still, Wisconsin is going to take its time and pull the trigger on offers with players the coaching staff feels more comfortable with.


Running Back

Early Name to Know: Antonio Williams (committed)
Players Gone After 2015: None
Offers Out: 8
Players Needed: 0

Wisconsin has the lone running back it needs for the 2015 class, even if the remote possibility of Corey Clement leaving early happens. There’s little doubt that Williams is the real deal and you can bet with him in the fold they are going to cool off on offering other backs, as to not rock the boat with the first commit in the class.

That said, Williams has decommitted once before and the Badgers aren’t going to be dumb enough to think other schools aren’t going to take a long run at a top 10 running back over the next year. Look for the Badgers to lock down Williams’ commitment over the course of the next few months while also making sure to keep the fires stoked with other interested running backs.

Luckily, the Badgers seem to have running backs banging down the doors and they’ll be fine if the worst case scenario happens. Just don’t expect it to, as Williams worked hard to get Wisconsin’s offer and his commitment means a lot more than his previous one to in-state North Carolina.


Wide Receivers

Early Name to Know: Elbre Gaiter
Players Out After 2015:
Jordan Fredrick, Alex Erickson
Offers Out: 12
Players Needed: 3-4

One of the casualties of the Badgers coaching change in the 2015 class was at wide receiver. UW parted ways with Brandyn Lee and only added marginal wide receiver (more a kick returner) Andrew James to the fold. He could help this team in the vertical pass game, but the single addition to this team and the continued lack of solid production from the group means UW needs to load up once again.

Look for the Badgers to cast a wide net and try to get the best players possible. Given Chryst’s reputation with the passing game, you can bet that will be to the Badgers advantage on the recruiting trail. Let’s just hope that UW doesn’t suffer the same fate they have the last two years and land all three or four names they get to the finish line this time around.

However, this group is a complete mystery as the Badgers are likely to look more to the state of Georgia and the Tampa Bay area given the makeup of the coaching staff. Don’t be surprised if names from the Eastern part of the Big Ten also start popping up soon, with Joe Rudolph hitting Ohio and Pennsylvania hard as well.


Tight End

Early Name to Know: N/A
Players Gone After 2015: Austin Traylor
Offers Out: 4 (none from current staff)
Players Needed: 1

The Badgers seem to be pretty set if you look at the recruiting chart, but having a three deep when you plan to use more two tight end formations is a wise decision. With Traylor leaving you can achieve that with an additional name added to the mix.

However, we don’t know who that player could be just yet as the current coaching staff doesn’t have any offers out and the old staff offers appear to not have been panning out early on too. Look for this position’s board to change nearly as much as it will at quarterback by the next time we revisit this.


Offensive Line

Early Name to Know: Ben Bredeson
Players Gone After 2015: Ray Ball, Tyler Marz
Offers Out: 7
Players Needed: 3

One of the more interesting parts of Chryst’s signing day press conference was the ducking he tried to do on the question of Jaden Gault’s status. Maybe he really hasn’t spoken to Gault, but that’s not the feel of the way he answered the question. Even if Gault stays and becomes a productive part of the Badgers offensive line, there is a need to continue building depth to the 15-man mark.

Luckily, the Badgers may not need to look outside the state of Wisconsin if it can keep the three best players in the state at home. Arrowhead’s Ben Bredeson is priority No. 1, as Michigan and UW are likely to battle to the bitter end for one of the nation’s best offensive linemen. There’s also Cole Van Lanen from Bay Port (Green Bay) and then Spencer Kanz from Luxemberg-Casco who appear to be well in the Badgers wheelhouse.

Don’t be surprised for this to be one of the first positions to fill up, especially given the rebuilt relationships the Badgers have with in-state coaches. Let’s see if the dream of the three-headed in-state monster happens.


Defensive Line

Early Name to Know: Ron Johnson
Players Gone After 2015: James Adeyanju, Jake Keefer
Offers Out: 14
Players Needed: 2 (DE & DT)

If there was a defensive position that could use just a bit something extra it is the defensive line. While the Badgers are getting younger, they also want to get more athletic. It would’ve happened in a big way if they had landed both Jake Pickard and Nate Howard, but we all know that didn’t happen in the 2015 class.

That means a few positions are going to be open, however there is going to be a huge fight for playing time on the 2016 roster when you consider Alec James, Chikwe Obasih and Garrett Dooley will all be experienced juniors and two of them will be starters.

Still, there is a golden opportunity for this class to add to the athletic ability of the front seven. Adding the likes of current 4-star Ron Johnson would be huge, but this group is likely to look a lot different with Dave Aranda having a lot more control over the offers that go out this time around.

What won’t be a need for this team is to load up on defensive tackles, so look for UW to be picky with who they offer at that position.



Early Name to Know: Tuf Borland
Players Gone After 2015: Jesse Hayes, Joe Schobert
Offers Out: 8
Players Needed: 2-3

A lot of how this part of the class shapes up to be depends on what Arrington Farrar does this fall. Will he transition to a complete linebacker or will he be groomed to play the Michael Caputo role for the 2016 season? If so, then look for the Badgers to take three linebackers in this class, otherwise don’t be surprised to see just a couple of linebackers taken.

There’s one name that sticks out immediately and that is Badgers legacy and 4-star rated outside linebacker Tuf Borland. Not only is he a legacy, but he’s another player who could change the game for the Badgers with his speed and athletic ability. He’s not the tallest guy out there, but one look at the film that is out there and you know that won’t matter much.

Wisconsin has started off by swinging for the fences and establishing roots in North Florida as well, so look for that trend to pay off with the small numbers needed at the position.



Early Name to Know: Antone Williams
Players Gone After 2015: Darius Hillary, Devin Gaulden, Terrance Floyd, T.J. Reynard
Offers Out: 12
Players Needed: 3-4

It turns out that going hard after and landing Titus Booker in the 2015 class is going to be at least some help for the Badgers come the 2016 class. At least the Badgers won’t need 4-5 guys to fill out the class and make an instant impact.

That said, Wisconsin is going to need to seriously hit this position hard on the recruiting trail from the pure numbers standpoint. Not to mention the fact that UW is also going to lose three of the four members of the two-deep after this upcoming season.

One of the most interesting names to watch early on is actual Duke commit Antone Williams, who just so happens to be a teammate of 2015 Badgers signee Arrington Farrar. You can expect Thomas Brown is going to make sure that relationship is used to the best of his ability going forward. Landing him would be a great start at the position, as the Badgers can’t afford to be scrambling to fill spots just to fill the needed numbers at the end.

Look for this to easily be the most important position group in the 2016 recruiting class.



Early Name to Know: Andrew Pryts
Players Gone After 2015: Michael Caputo, A.J. Jordan, Tanner McEvoy
Offers Out: 8
Players Needed: 2

Yes the Badgers lose three players off the scholarship roster at safety, but this is a position that is absolutely loaded with solid talent for the 2016 season. That means Aranda and the defensive staff can be much more picky about whom they go after at this position.

Don’t be surprised if Chryst and Rudolph’s relationship in the state of PA pays off with Pryts. He was one of the first 2016 offers the coaching staff put out and there’s a reason for that. He’s a physical player, but also nice and rangy.

Another name to watch that intrigues us according to the offer list out there is Nigel Warrior out of Atlanta, Ga. He had jumped out with a top three early on, but back in January Warrior slowed things down and put all teams back on the table. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Thomas Brown it’s that he’s a relentless and pretty talented young recruiter. Wisconsin may be on the outside looking in, but if Warrior could have OSU in a top three, why not Wisconsin making a run at him with his new mindset. Perhaps a new head coach and a fresh approach will do him some good?

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com