May 4, 2012

Sweet 16: Summer nearing

The Sweet 16 ranking is based on a combination of three factors: position need, interest in Wisconsin and talent level.


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style="text-align: left; padding-left: 10px;">2013 Rank Pos Ht/Wt Schools
1 href="">Ethan Pocic

Lemont (IL)


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The reason behind the rating: Offensive line is once again an important position and Pocic has been atop UW's recruiting board in this class for some time. The No. 3 tackle in the country has visited Wisconsin on at least two occasions and the Badgers are believed to be in the upper half of his top 10. Pocic was one of UW's first offers in the junior class.

Also in the mix: Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Iowa, Illinois, among others

The skinny: With Michigan and Notre Dame stocked with verbal commitments on the offensive line, UW and Ohio State may have a slight edge in Pocic's recruitment. He's currently on the Buckeyes' campus this weekend but expect the junior to make another visit to Madison before making his final decision.
2 href="">Chikwe Obasih

Brookfield (WI) Central

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The reason behind the rating: Keeping top talent in state is a big reason why Obasih finds himself in the No. 2 spot. The athletic end made another visit this past weekend with a handful of the top in-state juniors and came away feeling more comfortable with UW. "I got some questions cleared up that I wanted to know. There was definitely some pressure to commit just because it's such a comfortable feeling for me now."

Also in the mix: Michigan, Iowa, Mississippi, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Illinois, among others

The skinny: The top-ranked prospect in Wisconsin's 2013 in-state class appears to be very high on UW after another unofficial visit. Obasih will take trips to Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois in the near future but expect him to give a commitment to UW before the start of his senior season, if not sooner.
3 href="">David Williams

Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep Inst Charter School




The reason behind the rating: Though Wisconsin in connected to a number of top running backs in the 2013 class, Williams may very well be atop its wish list. Running back isn't a huge need, but Williams has the potential to make an impact right away at whatever college he commits to.

Also in the mix: Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State, among others

The skinny: With the philosophy of taking one running back in each recruiting class, landing a player of Williams' ability would be a huge get for Wisconsin. The four-star back, who has been in close contact with Thomas Hammock, told he will visit April 16. Expect him to get to red-carpet treatment from the coaching staff.
4 href="">Devin Butler

Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga




The reason behind the rating: Butler made the trip from Washington, D.C., for a two-day stay in Madison and was certainly impressed with what he was able to see. "It's exactly what I'm looking for, great academics along with top-notch football, plus a great social environment. I really liked the visit." An impact playmaker in the secondary is exactly what UW is looking for in this class.

Also in the mix: Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Rutgers, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State, among others

The skinny: Butler was supposed to announce on May 12 but has pushed up his decision to April 11 when school starts again. The defensive back is coming off visits to Wisconsin and Notre Dame, and the feeling right now is that the Irish will win this battle in a few weeks.
5 href="">Darius Latham

Indianapolis (IN) North Central

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The reason behind the rating: Latham visited earlier this month and commented on the new facilities that are currently under construction. "It was pretty good and I liked the campus. They are actually in the process of building a newer part and are tearing down a bunch of stuff. They are about to have a new weight room and great indoor facilities. They showed us the layout of what it will look like, and those will be nice."

Also in the mix: Notre Dame, Florida, Ohio State, Tennessee

The skinny: Latham recently announced a top five of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State. The Badgers like Latham at defensive tackle, the position many feel he prefers to play at the next level. Landing Latham would be a huge recruiting win for first-year assistant coach Eddie Faulkner.
6 href="">Rob Wheelwright

Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridger

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The reason behind the rating: In class where Wisconsin wants to take one wide receiver, Wheelwright sits atop the Badgers' recruiting board. After camping last summer, UW was the first school to offer the Ohio standout and they've kept the heat on ever since.

Also in the mix: Boston College, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, among others

The skinny: Wide receiver isn't a huge need in this class but Wisconsin has made Wheelwright a top priority for some time. Michigan State has been mentioned as the top competition for his services, though the Badgers consistent effort has them in the driver's seat at this point. Current Badger Austin Traylor is Wheelwright's former teammate at Walnut Ridge.
7 href="">A.J. Natter

Milton (WI)




The reason behind the rating: Natter currently holds the most scholarship opportunities of any in-state player and he could very well be the biggest challenge for Wisconsin to keep in state.

Also in the mix: Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State, Purdue, Boston College, Minnesota, among others

The skinny: Though he won't admit to a favorite at this point, Wisconsin and Nebraska likely sit very high on Natter's list of schools. The defensive end from nearby Milton was given his own private junior day when an offer was extended in February. "It was a really neat experience. It was truly unique. It was my own junior day and they had my own schedule for me. It was a good time."
8 href=>Aaron Bailey

Bolingbrook (IL)




The reason behind the rating: Wisconsin got a taste of what an athletic quarterback can bring to the position in 2011. Bailey, a four-star signal caller, could provide a unique wrinkle to the Badgers' pro-style offense.

Also in the mix: Northwestern, Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa, among others

The skinny: With Malik Zaire slipping further and further way -- he eventually committed to Notre Dame -- Wisconsin extended an offer to Bailey. Northwestern, Illinois and Ohio State could be out in front, though the Badgers are trying to make up some ground. Expect Bailey to make it to campus this spring.
9 href="">Alec James

Brookfield (WI) East

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The reason behind the rating: James is probably the most intriguing player in Wisconsin's 2013 in-state class because of his exceptional athletic ability. UW has been looking for a pass rushing end for some time and James fits that need very well.

Also in the mix: Iowa State, Minnesota, Western Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, among others

The skinny: Though Michigan State is a big player in his recruitment, look for James to stay close to home when he makes his decision. He's close with Obasih and the chance to play together at the next level appears to be very appealing to both Brookfield standouts.
10 href="">Jalen Banks

Harvey (IL) Thornton Township

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The reason behind the rating: Banks reeled in an offer from UW during its junior day in February. "Just to get an offer from them with such a small amount of scholarships they have to offer really feels good and I'm going to look really hard at Wisconsin."

Also in the mix: Illinois, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, Michigan State, among others

The skinny: With room for one safety in this class, Banks appears to be the top target for UW. Expect a decison some time this summer. "I'm looking at getting everything done either in the late summer or early in the season. My recruiting already seems to be busy and I can't imagine how busy it can get if I don't make a decision after September 1."
11 href="">Kevin Olsen

Wayne (N.J.) Wayne Hills


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The reason behind the rating: Olsen will visit Wisconsin in April and has been on the Badgers' radar for some time. Olsen would be a another huge addition for UW at quarterback one year after adding Bart Houston.

Also in the mix: Miami, Rutgers, Florida State, Iowa, North Carolina, UCF, Auburn, South Carolina, among others

The skinny: Many believe Miami is the front-runner in this race, though Wisconsin is set to get Olsen on campus in April. Olsen's brother, Greg, is a former Cane who is now in the NFL. Olsen has already visited FSU, North Carolina and East Carolina, but says that it's primarily Miami, Wisconsin, Auburn and South Carolina in the mix, according to
12 href="">Derrick Green

Richmond (VA) Hermitage


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The reason behind the rating: One of the top prospects in the country was on campus earlier this month. "The visit went real well. I talked to the head coach and had a chance to meet with a lot of the assistant coaches. I toured the facility and got to see some of the academics. I met some of the players. It was a good visit."

Also in the mix: Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Penn State, Michigan, Miami, Auburn, among others

The skinny: Green is coming off an impressive visit to Wisconsin, but many feel he's Ohio State's to lose at this point. UW paired him up with Montee Ball while he was on campus in order to show him how successful backs can be in UW's offense. Time with a potential Heisman Trophy winner may not be enough, however.
13 href="">Joey Bosa

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas


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The reason behind the rating: Wisconsin was already able to get Bosa, one of the top prospects in the country, on campus earlier in the year. It will be an uphill battle for the Badgers, however, with Alabama, Florida and Ohio State all making a hard push to land the four-star prospect.

Also in the mix: Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Ohio State

The skinny: Wisconsin currently sits in Bosa's top five, but it would be a pretty significant surprise to see him land at UW. Luckily for the Badgers, the in-state defensive ends are extremely talented in this class. Look for Bosa to wind up and either Ohio State or Alabama.
14 href="">Scott Quessenberry

Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon




The reason behind the rating: The two-way lineman was offered by Wisconsin after the staff viewed his junior film. Currently, UW prefers Quessenberry, who plans on visiting for the spring game, as a defensive tackle, though that could change based on need moving forward.

Also in the mix: Nebraska, San Diego State, SMU, UCLA, Washington State, among others

The skinny: Though a decision is not expected in the near future, UW appears to be in a very good position to land the lineman from California. The only bump in the road could be Quessenberry's preference to play on the offensive line, but he appears willing to commit to a school that offers the best fit.
15 href="">Tim Kimbrough

Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central


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The reason behind the rating: Kimbrough, a hard-hitting middle linebacker, picked up an offer from UW at its junior day in February. "I liked the campus and all the coaches were real cool. I got to talk to some of the players on the team and they told me about the college. They have some of the best academics, and that's one of the unique things about them."

Also in the mix: Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Penn State, Arkansas, among others

The skinny: It's tough to see a player of Kimbrough's caliber be a casualty of scholarship numbers, but Wisconsin is extremely limited in this cycle. With Garret Dooley and Austin Ramesh (greyshirt) already on board at linebacker, it may be tough to sign another prospect at that position. UW and Ohio State are believed to be the leaders, though the Buckeyes have yet to offer.
16 href="">Francis Owusu

Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian




The reason behind the rating: Owusu picked up an early offer from UW and is expected to make a visit to campus this spring. Strong interest in the three-star wide out shows UW is still very interested in recruiting the state of California moving forward.

Also in the mix: Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, among others

The skinny: Since Wisconsin offered in February, a host of schools -- including Notre Dame, Florida and UCLA, among others -- have entered the mix for the talented wide out. Owusu's older brother, Chris, recently completed his eligibility this past fall at Stanford and many feel the Cardinal hold a slight advantage.

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