December 23, 2012
Do the Badgers need Florida?
When Bret Bielema was hired as defensive coordinator under former Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez in 2004, he brought with him recruiting ties to talent-rich South Florida.
This is a territory the Badgers still actively recruit and on the current Rose Bowl roster, there are 11 players - including starters Dezmen Southward and David Gilbert - who hail from the Sunshine State.
"One of the neat things I've been able to do in my time as an assistant coach, coordinator, and head coach, is to recruit the state of Florida," Bielema said in his introductory press conference at Arkansas. "Especially in South Florida. In the state of Florida you'll have kids that will leave, and especially when you get below Orlando, those kids will go anywhere. I'm excited to get there. I've signed over 50 kids from the state of Florida in my coaching career. Some of those guys have been my best players."
But with Bielema and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge headed to the SEC, UW fans are concerned if Florida will still be in the recruiting blueprint for new head coach Gary Andersen, whose ties rest mainly on the West Coast.
Can Wisconsin survive without recruiting in Florida? BadgerBlitz.com takes a look at UW's previous recruiting classes and how those players panned out.
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