Message boards — they can be scourge of the earth or a really good indication of the pulse of a fanbase. Often times they are both, and in the case of Paul Chryst and his first full recruiting class it is much more of the later than the former.
As June camp season continues to roll along, Chryst and his coaching staff have had many in the Badger fanbase scratching their heads at some of the moves made. Some couldn’t believe two three-star offensive lineman from in-state with FBS offers weren’t getting offers, yet UW was extending them to unknown and unranked prospects (both in-state and out of state).
Those offers, going to in-state defensive end Tyler Biadasz and Minnesota offensive tackle Patrick Kasl were both received enthusiastically. Both jumped on the offers in the past few days and became part of the Badgers 2016 recruiting class.
Many were left underwhelmed by these under-the-radar commitments, and rightfully so given little knowledge outside of those who have seen these players in person on the camp circuit or on the field for their high schools.
After two years of elevated recruiting status, many expected Chryst and his staff to pick up where the previous one left off. It was much more fun talking about reeling in four-star and potential five-star talent than scouring the web for information on unknown prospects after all.
However, this past weekend the coaching staff proved they may know exactly what they are doing after all. Following a commitment from previously unranked Biadasz, the Badgers hit on two bigger prospects.
First up was the Badgers’ first four-star talent of the 2016 recruiting class in Carmel, Ind. outside linebacker Noah Burks. He is rated a four-star by 247Sports but a high three-star by the 247Sports composite rankings.
Burks’ addition to the class gives the Badgers their highest rated recruit not named Antonio Williams.
Speaking of Williams, the fact that he is in the fold firmly and is heavily involved in helping to recruit others in the 2016 class should also speak volumes of the ability of this staff to recruit and keep top level talent. Williams has offers from all over the college football landscape and UW has fended off numerous challenges from Georgia and other SEC powers.
Few want to talk about that as a win, but given the coaching staff turnover and Williams’ previous commitment to the coaching staff that is no longer at UW, it is a win — and a big one at that.
Adding Burks on the defensive side of the ball was priority No. 1 for defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and the rest of the staff. He was always at or near the very top of Wisconsin’s ever-evolving recruiting board at linebacker.
Wisconsin followed up that commitment with a quick verbal pledge from a player they just offered earlier in the week, Dallas Jeanty. The Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) High School prospect flew in under the radar a bit thanks to just being offered earlier in the week, but he hasn’t flown under the radar of many schools period. He has an offer list of 30-plus schools, and academics appears to be key in his recruitment as he has five Ivy League offers amongst those he’s already received.
#OnWisconsin !! pic.twitter.com/aNT8m2xUuL
— Dal (@ItsDallasJ) June 15, 2015
Jeanty’s commitment has hit a bit of a snag with head coach Paul Chryst still yet to speak to the young man. However, it is expected to be all sown up when Jeanty takes his unofficial visit to the school in a few weeks time.
Regardless of the scenario and when things become unofficially “official” for Jeanty, Wisconsin did some major work on the recruiting trail this past weekend.
Burks is the kind of talent that can step in and take over the game as an outside linebacker, with some comparing him to a more athletic version of Vince Biegel. Should that comparison hold up, the Badgers coaching staff may have hit on a way to keep the momentum going on that side of the ball.
Most importantly, the Badgers showed they could identify a top target and close the deal. For some on message boards and on social media that was the biggest strike against this staff.
After losing names like Tristan Pipp and Jango Glackin earlier in the recruiting process, Chryst and the Badgers coaching staff have begun to show they have what it takes to recruit at a high level. The key is to take this commitment and begin to build more high-level commitments throughout the summer.