While most were watching the Packers choke away a Super Bowl berth, the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff was busy planting its flag back in the state of Wisconsin. The previous regime didnâ€™t see the state as a key to its future plans, offering just three scholarships to players within the Badger state borders, but that all changed with the hire of Paul Chryst.
On Sunday, Wisconsinâ€™s coaching staff went out and made a splash with four offers to in-state prospects that werenâ€™t offers under Gary Andersen. UW offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph spoke with four top in-state recruits on Sunday.
He handed out two new full scholarship offers and added two greyshirt offers for in-state prospects, while also upgrading one previously committed in-state prospect to a full ride from a greyshirt offer.
Brown Deer athlete Zak Baun was upgraded to a full scholarship from his previously committed greyshirt offer. Wisconsinâ€™s new coaching staff is looking at Baun as a potential outside linebacker for Dave Arandaâ€™s 3-4 defense.
Adding offers were Wisconsinâ€™s Gatorade Player of the Year, Alec Ingold (Bay Port HS), and 3-star defensive tackle Robert Windsor. Ingold is verbally committed to Northern Illinois as a quarterback, but Wisconsin is looking at him as a linebacker. Windsor is uncommitted but has a pretty good offer list, includingÂ Penn State, Maryland, Illinois, Vanderbilt and Purdue. His offer from Penn State had them on the top of the heap early on, but did UWâ€™s offer change much?
Windsor spoke to our recruiting partners at Badger247 following the offer and according to his wordsÂ ($) the Badgers are now in the top two with Penn State at this point in time. Ingold was also happy with his offer, but will sleep on things and try to make a quick decision between the Huskies and Badgers.
The Badgers made two greyshirt offers to Franklin, Wis. offensive lineman Vincent Hughes and Wausau (Wis.) West linebacker Jake Whalen. It will be interesting in Whalenâ€™s case to see if that upgrade from preferred walk-on to greyshirt will be enough to fend off a full offer from the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Hughes appears very committed to taking his talents to Northern Illinois despite the upgraded offer from the home-state Badgers.
More than anything the four offered players showcased exactly what kind of damage was being done to in-state recruiting under Gary Andersenâ€™s recruiting plan. How is it possible that a player like Windsor was capable of an offer from the likes of Penn State or Maryland and couldnâ€™t even get a sniff of an offer from the Badgers?
Sure the numbers game is part of the equation, with Wisconsin looking to add limited numbers at defensive tackle in this recruiting cycle. Yet, UW chose to go all the way to American Samoa instead of offering an equally talented kid from its own back yard.
While the Badgers may not land every one of the four new offered players, this move is important for the staff to re-emphasize keeping a fence around the state. The previous staff seemed to value selecting just the top two or three guys and letting the rest dangle with potential greyshirt or preferred walk-on offers.
This staff knows how important players from the state have been to the success of the program and clearly is looking to re-establish a positive relationship with the coaches in the state. Making a move like they did on Sunday certainly shows they know what was going on and are committed to correcting the relationship that was damaged in the past.
(photo courtesy Badger247)