As the dust settles from Paul Chrystâ€™s hire as the 30th head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, the excitement turns to questions of what comes next. What about the coaching staff? How about the hire affecting recruiting?
For those of us who remember the last coaching hire vividly, it was clear an upheaval was coming. Not only did Bret Bielema leave, but so did nearly every single coach on the staff. Only Thomas Hammock and Ben Strickland were left in Madison when the team returned from the Rose Bowl.
It meant a massive change in the recruiting game, and a potentially great 2013 recruiting class began to fall apart.
Considering that knowledge, one could easily be fearful of it happening again. However, this isnâ€™t Bielemaâ€™s staff and this isnâ€™t 2013 all over again in nearly any way, shape or form.
Instead of Gary Andersen trotting off to Oregon State with all the staff he built at UW, nearly every coach that was around to recruit the 2015 class is at least going to be given the chance to stay on board in Madison. Rather than having to replace nine coaches, Wisconsin appears set to only lose two coaches to Gary Andersenâ€™s staff at Oregon State. Outside of a few known names coming with Chryst from Pitt, it appears that six or seven coaches from last season will be back in Camp Randall for 2015.
For the recruiting class that was likely caught off guard just over a week ago, that sounds like music to their ears.
More importantly, what this class has said all along appear to be the right things. The guys that Badger247 have spoken withÂ ($) have a common refrain in their talks about staying committed to the Badgers â€” itâ€™s about the school and not the coaches. That appears especially true for many in-state commits and some of those on the defensive side of the ball.
While it may be a case of saying the right thing at the right time, the good news is that weâ€™re here over 10 days after Andersen left and not a single of Wisconsinâ€™s 24 commits prior to his departure have left the program.
Even better news comes in the form of the Badgers managing to get a University of Texas 4-star running back commit to flip a day after Andersen left for the West Coast. Said 4-star RB, Jordan Scarlett, proved one thing true â€” if you can keep it positive and have a vision for the program and not just on the coaching staff, players will flock.
Sure, itâ€™s not likely that the entire class stays together until national signing day in February, but that appears to have less to do with the coaching hire and more to do about personal decisions at this point.
Perhaps the best example of this is 3-star linebacker commit Jordan Griffin, who is being pulled hard by the potential lure of playing in his home state of Florida. The question for him isnâ€™t about the coaching staff as it is about the draw of a late offer from dream school Miami (FL).
Should one come, thereâ€™s little the Badgers can do to change his mind if he truly wants to go to the Hurricanes. Itâ€™s not a slight on Wisconsin at all, but a choice to be in his comfort zone of the Miami area.
On the flip side, there are players like tight end Kyle Penniston and a bunch of the offensive lineman in the class who couldnâ€™t have benefited more from this hire.Â With a coaching staff that will be left virtually intact, Chryst and his coaches wonâ€™t be building new relationships so much as reaffirming the commitments made by those coaches who stuck around.
That means the Badgers are in a prime position to keep a great class and build off the foundation laid already.
It sure is a far cry from the six weeks of scrambling around Andersen did upon being hired two years ago, and it could make all the difference to the future of this program.
Now, the quest is to fend off schools that will be coming hard after some of the biggest names in this class â€” and not because of an uncertain future at Wisconsin, but because of the talent they have shown on the football field.