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Written by Andrew Coppens | 03 May 2012

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It's been fast and furious in the world of recruiting following the completion of the Spring football and the 2013 class expanded late yesterday as offensive lineman Jack Keeler gave his verbal commitment to the Badgers.  That makes a half-dozen for a class that's quickly filling out. 

As we discussed on Badgers Power Hour this past Tuesday the Badgers are recruiting some huge kids and Keeler fits this mold both physically, but also in presence.  Keeler projects as an offensive tackle at the next level and when you see his stats you'll understand why.  

With the addition of Keeler that makes two players in the 2013 class from our neighbors to the south in Illinois.  He joins ILB Garret Dooley from the Land of Lincoln in what's shaping up early on to be one of the better classes in terms of quality, not quantity, that Wisconsin's had under Bielema.  247sports has Wisconsin's 2013 class ranked 29th overall in the nation at this point.  Now, that number may end up changing and be lower when all is said and done because the class itself is expected to be small, but right now that's an impressive ranking.

According to most projections the Badgers class is most likely only 10-12 players at most, so it's easy to see why the numbers would skew the class south.  However, getting these early verbal commitments is absolutely a sign of just how hot a program the Badgers are at the moment in my opinion and that can only help for the rest of the class and for the 2014 class as well. 

Keeler's Profile: 

Height: 6'7"

Weight: 285lbs.

Position: Offensive Tackle

Hometown/High School: Barrington, IL/Barrington High School

 

 

 

Rankings: 

247sports: 3*, NR nationally, 58th OT, 13th in Illinois

ESPN: 4*, NR nationally, 23rd OT, 9th in Illinois

Rivals: 3*, NR nationally, 43 OT, NR in Illinois

Scout: 3*, NR nationally, 67th OT

 

Thoughts: 

This kid simply has Wisconsin written all over him and you'll know why by watching his highlight tape and seeing his measurables.  I mean seriously, Keeler is big, REALLY big.  He's also got a serious mean streak on the field and frankly when you think of Wisconsin offensive linemen that's what you normally think of.  

I'm excited by the fact that as a young man Keeler already has that "attack" to him.  By that I mean when he's engaging in a block he sees his opponent and rather than waiting for the point of contact he goes and makes it happen.  Usually that ends in him simply mauling the guy he's blocking and that will only serve to help his transition to the college game.  However, he's not a complete player (what high school kid is, right?) and he'll need to work on setting his base and his footwork.  He can get by at the high school level because of his size and athletic ability, but he needs to be more solid from the waist down from all the tape I've seen of him.  At the next level if he doesn't get that base corrected he'll have trouble with the bigger and faster players he'll see.  Thankfully it is something that's easily workable at the next level and the Badgers have a great O-Line coach in Mike Markuson.

This past season he played guard alongside Badger freshman Dan Voltz for Barrington but will likely slide outside this season.  Just by watching the tape you can see why he projects to a tackle at the next level.  

It's very likely that the combination of Voltz at Center and Keeler could become potential anchors along the offensive line early on in their careers and that would bode quite well for Wisconsin's future offensively.  

Here's some tape for your viewing pleasure:

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 02 May 2012

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We're back for your daily dose of the MTB College Sports Bucket List and we're just starting to hit our stride.  Yesterday it was one of the games that's near and dear to this author's heart, the Cy-Hawk Series, which would've been much higher had it not already been crossed off of my personal list thanks to going to Iowa State.  Today it's a game I'm equally excited about, but for totally different reasons and a totally different sport than football.  

When you think of college basketball rivalries chances are names like UNC vs. Duke, Georgetown vs. Syracuse, UCLA vs. Arizona, and Kentucky vs. Louisville come readily to the front of your mind.  Well, chances are equal that No. 96 on our list may not even enter your brain, so we're going to introduce you to the best college basketball rivalry you haven't heard of.  

No. 96 Calvin vs. Hope (DIII Basketball):

Calvin vs. Hope

Like a lot of good college sports rivalries this one is born out of the religious affiliations of the two schools.  Hope is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America while Calvin is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church.  Yep, you guessed it, the CRC is a breakaway from the Reformed Church in America.

Chances are you may have not heard of this game and that's an absolute shame because it's one of the nations longest standing and best college basketball rivalries out there.  Don't underestimate this one just because it's not a "major college" rivalry.  It's got all the ingredients of those rivalries, minus one - the hate.  Heck, it's even got it's own website, I mean seriously, how many DIII games can say that?

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 02 May 2012

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Last night we ran completely out of time on our SEASON FINALE of Badgers Power Hour and with that here is the Interview with Jon McNamara - Publisher/Editor of BadgerBlitz, so enjoy  his take on the world of Badger football recruiting and make sure you don't miss last night's episode which you can find here.

Enjoy and ON WISCONSIN!!

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 02 May 2012

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SconnieScoop

Fresh off his experience at the Spring Game, editor-in-chief, Andrew Coppens had a chance to sit down and talk Badger football with the Crystal Ball Run. The conversation ranged from Danny O'Brien to Melvin Gordon. Be sure to check out his thoughts and where the Badgers stand after spring practices.

It was reported yesterday by Dennis Punzel of the Wisconsin State Journal that former Wisconsin women’s basketball coach Lisa Stone was rumored to be in the mix to be take the same position at St. Louis University.

Stone coached the Badgers for eight seasons and posted a career record of 128-119 during her tenure. She was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 2009-10 season which saw her guide the Badgers to their only NCAA Tournament appearance during her eight seasons.

Though an official announcement is expected to come at some point this week, no official announcement has been made at this point.

Former Wisconsin running back Michael Bennett was arrested and charged with identity theft and tax fraud.

Bennett played two seasons at Camp Randall where he racked up 1914 career rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. His NFL career spanned 10 seasons with five different teams. He last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

Wisconsin men's hockey defensman Patrick Daly announced this week that he will be transferring to Division III St. Thomas to continue his playing career. Daly appeared in 11 games for the Badgers last season and was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft. 

St. Thomas won the regular season Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship last season and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament where they fell in the opening round to national champions St. Norbert.

The Badgers’ softball team downed Bradley last night at Goodman Diamond for their eleventh consecutive home win. Good news for a team who plays five of their last eight games at home. They look to continue that streak today when they host UW-Green Bay in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

Wisconsin now has 31 wins, its highest total since the 2005 campaign. The program record for wins in a season is 34.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 01 May 2012

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It was a fun anniversary of Badgers Power Hour tonight, so check it out below:

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 30 April 2012

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Bucket_List

After a few days off to cover the Badgers Spring football game we're back at it on our MTB College Sports Bucket List - where we are tackling the 100 College Sports Events and Games you have to see before you die and we're on to No. 97 on our list.  The first few games have been a little off the radar so to speak, but you'll recognize this one no doubt about it. 

Before getting into No. 97, let me remind you of the List to this point:

No. 100 - Army vs. Canadian Royal Military College (DI Hockey)

No. 99 - Adrian vs. MSOE (DIII Hockey)

No. 98 - VMI vs. The Citadel (FCS Football)

So, make sure to check out those games but now on to the newest addition to the list.  It's a game that would've been much higher on this list if not for the fact that it wasn't on my list and is a game already crossed off of my bucket list.  What game is that?

 

No. 97 - Cy-Hawk Series: Iowa State vs. Iowa (FBS Football): 

Full disclosure, I attended Iowa State University, so this one may have a slight bias to it, but I tried my hardest to be fair... ;) 

For those of us that live in a state where there are professional sports teams at the highest level like we have here in Wisconsin it's hard to describe what these type of games mean.  I'll give it my best shot - it's like rolling the Packers vs. Bears, Packers vs. Vikings, Brewers vs. Cubs, and Brewers vs. Cardinals all in to one and add in even more hate.  It's intense and fun all at the same time, seriously these guys compete at everything.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 30 April 2012

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This past weekend was chalk full of Badgers news and notes.  One of the most interesting aspects of the weekend was the NFL Draft and the drama that was the selection of Russell Wilson by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night.  

Being in Madison the place was abuzz with the news of his pick and excitement for his next adventure.  Wilson returned the love on Saturday at the annual spring game with this video: 

Congrats to him and the five other Badgers drafted as well as the seven rookies that signed undrafted free agent contracts following the end of the draft on Sunday.  It's amazing to think we're putting that many guys into the NFL on a year to year basis when I can remember years where the Badgers were lucky to have one person selected at all.  

While we're talking #AllRussellAllEverything what was up with the E!SPN half hour man crush on the guy?  Just seeing the coverage at the establishment we were at it seemed totally ridiculous.  It ended in one of the best moments of the draft and that was the fight between Mel Kipper, Jr. and Jon Gruden.  If you missed it check it out here.

Away from the draft and back to the Badgers that are actually on the field, we were able to gather a bit of video at the event.  So check out each one of the scores from field level here: 

As we and other sources reported 2013 WR Rob Wheelwright committed to the Badgers as of yesterday and Adam Mertz of the Wisconsin State Journal has a great look into how new wide receivers coach Zach Azzani's role helped to land him.

One of the more impressive performances on Saturday came from new kicker Kyle French who hit 8 of 9 in the two rapid kicking segments and one of the misses was a 57 yard attempt that was just short.  It will be a topic tomorrow on Badgers Power Hour LIVE at 8:30pm Central.  But check out this good piece, also from Adam Mertz, about French.

Believe it or not there were other things happening outside of Football this past weekend and one of the coolest was the performance of Mohammed Ahmed, who posted the sixth fastest time in the world at the 10,000 Meter distance.  He'll be in the London Olympics later this year thanks to that time which is an automatic qualifier.  Add that on to his NCAA Cross Country Championship and he's quickly climbing up our ranks of male athlete of the year, which we'll be handing out in June.

Don't forget we'll have more on all of the football news and notes from this past weekend in our Season Finale of BADGERS POWER HOUR tomorrow night at 8:30pm Central LIVE!

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 30 April 2012

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Chikwe Obasih

Yesterday we reported on two players, one from each of the 2013 and 2014 classes, signing with Wisconsin and late last night their was confirmation of another 2013 verbal commitment.  This one came from in-state DE prospect Chikwe Obasih.  That puts the Badgers over the half way mark towards their expected 2013 class.

He joins fellow in-state commits Austin Ramesh (ATH) and T.J. Watt (ATH) as well as LB Garrett Dooley (Rochester, IL) and WR Rob Wheelwright (Columbus, OH) as the five known commitments to the Badgers 2013 class.  Wisconsin is only expected to use about 9 scholarships on this class.  

Chikwe confirmed his commitment to the Badgers via Twitter late last night, saying: 

Chikwe Obasih Profile/Rankings: 

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 240lbs.

Hometown/HS: Brookfield, WI/Brookfield Central

Rankings:

- 247Sports: 4* (90 grade), NR nationally, 14th at WDE, 1st in Wisconsin

- Rivals: 4* (5.8 rivals rating), NR nationally, 22nd at DE, NR in Wisconsin

- Scout: 3*, 36th DE nationally

- ESPN: no stars, NR at all

 

Thoughts: He may not be the biggest of guys as of yet, but if he can put on 20 to 25 more pounds then we have a very fast, agile, and strong defensive end at the collegiate level.  For a high school player he has a very good feel for the flow of the game and flow of plays.  The one area I see him needing to work on the most is getting better leverage and better use of his hands.  However, those are things that are easily teachable, especially early on at the collegiate level.  There's no denying he's got raw talent and athleticism, something that will really be needed for the Badgers defensive line in the future.  Don't underestimate the importance of his signing with Wisconsin, he could be one of the most important players in the 2013 class when all is said and done.

Check out his Junior Season highlight video here: 

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Written by Caissa Casarez | 30 April 2012

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Championship Sports Covered: Tennis, Golf
Regular-Season Sports Covered: Softball, Openweight Rowing, Track & Field

Tennis
The Badgers weren't able to get past No. 53 Indiana for a second time this season, as they were shut out by the Hoosiers, 4-0, in the first round of the 2012 Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament on Thursday.

Four games, including the match at No. 2 doubles, went unfinished as IU was able to win the dual at No. 3 singles. Wisconsin finishes its season 12-12 overall and 3-9 in the Big Ten.

The Badgers lose four seniors, including second team All-Big Ten honoree Alaina Trgovich, to graduation. Despite that, they also return five starters, including freshmen Sarah Loebel and Nova Patel, who both had exceptional rookie season for Wisconsin. 

Sophomore Nicky Stracar received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for UW, as announced during the tournament banquet on Thursday.

Golf
Wisconsin finished ninth at the 2012 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships, which ended Sunday at the Donald Ross Golf Course in French Lick, Ind. 

The Badgers shot 64-over par (318-303-307=928) overall after shooting +19 during the final round on Sunday. 

Senior and Madison native Jessie Gerry led Wisconsin by shooting +16 (78-76-78=232), good for a tie for 28th overall. Junior Lindsay Danielson wasn't far behind, finishing in a tie for 36th with +19 (78-80-77=235). 

Freshman Aaren Ziegler, redshirt freshman Kimberly Dinh, and sophomore Alexis Nelson all finished at a tie for 40th place at +20, while sophomore Kris Yoo finished just outside of the top 50 overall at +22, good for a tie for 51st place.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 29 April 2012

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The annual spring game is usually a chance for the younger guys to shine, but there's also a side that most forget about and that's the recruitment of players.  Wisconsin played host to some major recruiting targets yesterday and as of today they've already landed one verbal commitment from each of the 2013 and 2014 classes.  

That 2013 commitment came from Wide Receiver Rob Wheelwright.  He was offered by Wisconsin very early in the process, in fact they were his first offer, and when it was all said and done he held offers from at least six Big Ten programs including Michigan and Nebraska.  The Columbus, OH native also received some attention from the hometown Buckeyes, but he chose the Badgers after visiting this past weekend.  

Wisconsin also received it's very first 2014 commitment as George Panos announced it via twitter shortly before the Badgers spring game on Saturday.  

He received his offer during the Spring game and committed right there.  If the name sounds familiar to you it should, he's the son of former Badger standout offensive lineman Joe Panos, who was a captain on the 1994 Rose Bowl team and went on to a seven year NFL career.  What we do know is he's been a starter on the Arrowhead football team from the very beginning and is coached by his Badger legend of a father Joe.

So, with that let's break down the commit of Wheelwright a bit more, as Panos' is so early on in the process that the rankings of the 2014 class haven't even been made yet by the various recruiting services out there.

What is Rob like?  We've had the chance to speak with him a few times over the past year and he's a very engaging and fun guy.  He's also a very focused person and Wisconsin is getting a very good player that is under the radar in my opinion.  (I know, shocking that a Badger recruit is underrated, right?)

As I always say, let's see if he passes the eye test, so let's give you his profile as well as his video from this past season, shall we?

Rob Wheelwright Profile: 

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 175lbs. 

Hometown/HS: Columbus, OH/Walnut Ridge

Commit Date: 4/28/2012 (verbal after Spring Game)

Rankings:

247Sports - 3*, NR nationally, 59th WR, 25th Ohio

Rivals - 3*, NR nationally, 39th WR, NR in Ohio

Scout - 4*, 21st WR nationally

ESPN - 3*, 49th WR nationally

Watching his video from sophomore year to last season it's clear that he's working hard on improving his route running, but there's still room for improvement there and that will come from coaching and more time playing the position.  It's clear he can take coaching and work from there and that's what a lot of Wisconsin recruits are known for.  He's also one of the shiftiest WR's I've seen commit to the Badgers in some time.  He's got moves that we haven't really seen from most of our WR commits in the past under Bielema.  

Here's the video of his Junior season for your viewing pleasure:

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