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May 22, 2013

Gorman's Wisconsin mailbag





In a new feature from BadgerBlitz.com, staff writer Jon Gorman will be answering questions from readers in his mailbag feature.

The following are the questions and answers submitted for the fourth installment:

Sousaphil: While Kyle Allen is a highly rated pro-style QB with ties to Wisconsin, he doesn't seem to fit our early definition of coach (Gary) Andersen's ideal QB. What's your take on the reason for his recruitment? Too good to ignore?

Gorman: Largely, yes. Allen is one of the elite quarterbacks in the class and though he isn't a burner with his feet, he can pick apart defenses with his arm and extend plays with his feet. Andersen isn't going to neglect pro-style quarterbacks altogether; rather, I think he's looking for a better athlete at the position moving forward.

sullybear1212: 1. What QB do we have the best chance at? And what QBs do you see being offered next?

2. Have you noticed any difference in the type of recruits the new staff is offering at different positions? Like height, weight, athleticism, style?

3. Have you noticed any difference in recruiting style, besides the number of offers, between the new staff and the old staff? Have you heard any differences from recruits?


Gorman: 1. Out of the two offers, I like Wisconsin's chances a lot more with DeShone Kizer in comparison to Allen. There are rumors that the offers extended by Alabama and LSU are not yet committable, and Notre Dame has yet to offer. That leaves a two-team race out of Kizer's top five between Tennessee and Wisconsin. I could see it going either way.

Allen, meanwhile, has brought in offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame since the Badgers offered. The fact that Wisconsin offered Kizer soon after Allen's visit on May 4 leads me to believe the staff is not particularly confident in his recruitment.

As for the next group, it is hard to say for sure, but it will likely come from D.J. Gillins, Drew Doxtator, Manny Wilkins, Nicodem Pierre, Luke Rubenzer and Marcus Johnson, among others. If I had to guess I would say Gillins, and I think Wisconsin would be the favorite for all of them -- save maybe Gillins -- if it offered right now.

2. I'm actually glad someone asked this because I had been thinking about it recently. It feels like there are different physical requirements at certain positions (most notably cornerback and wide receiver) under the new staff. Bret Bielema's staff got very good at finding talented but undersized corners whom they felt they could add the necessary weight to and play. This staff, meanwhile, has put a much higher emphasis on the size/speed combination at the position. No offered prospects at cornerback are under 5-foot-11, and Nicholas Ruffin, Demarlon Morris, Deion Hallmon, Parrker Westphal, Kenzo Cotton, John Battle, Lamont Simmons, and Quincy Wilson are all 6-feet or taller.

Wide receivers, however, are the opposite, and size seems to be less of a factor than quickness. Out of the current receivers on the roster, five of the 10 scholarship players are 6-foot-3 or taller. In contrast, only two of the 21 offers given out at the position are 6-foot-3 or taller in the 2014 class.

3. The biggest change seems to be the offer first and meet-the-player-later approach some of the staff is taking. Chris Beatty, in particular, seems to be a coach who sends out an offer, and then works on getting the player on campus, while Thomas Hammock works on making a connection before extending an offer. I'm not sure if one strategy is better than another, but there are some contrasts there.

BobUW68: Please explain the nuances concerning a committable offer and a non-committable offer. I know the difference sounds obvious, but I am curious to the value of an offer that when accepted will not be immediately honored by the party that makes the offer. Does it mean that the person getting a non-committable offer is on a waiting list, cannot commit until he visits officially or unofficially or something else?
Signed, confused in Silver Spring.


Gorman: It depends on the school. Some coaches will not accept a recruit until they have been on campus. Some issue offers to show true interest, but tell recruits they have to wait for a decision from other recruits first. Quite frankly, I think a non-committable offer is a contradiction in terms, seeing as an offer by definition is something that can be acted upon. But I'm not the one making the rules.

Kuehnlw25: Do we have a realistic shot at either Joe Mixon or Jeff Jones?

Gorman: Despite being offered last summer by Hammock, Jones is not being recruited by the staff.

In regards to Mixon, it depends on what you want to define realistic as. Is there a chance he ends up a Badger? Absolutely. But would I bet on it? No. He has the Badgers in a very loosely defined top three, but the other two schools are Georgia and Oklahoma, and Mixon seems to really want the Oregon offer. But the Badgers are showing a ton of interest and Mixon seems receptive. This one could play out in a number of ways. Such is the case when going after a five-star recruit with over 40 offers.

Mjhill: Is Tanner McEvoy allowed to have Andersen's playbook right now? Is he already studying up on it or is he going to have to start completely fresh when he gets on campus? And when is that going to be?

Gorman: When I spoke to him last winter he was not allowed to have the playbook. Summer workouts start on June 9 and assuming he has finished his classes at Arizona Western, he should be able to be on campus then and able to start studying the plays. He certainly has some catching up to do.

BigBadgerFan: With two commits at DE so far are the Badgers targeting any other players at this position?

Gorman: Quite honestly, I thought they would stop with the defensive line when Billy Hirschfeld joined the mix. But that doesn't appear to be the case, as Beatty and Chad Kauha'aha'a have continued to send out defensive line offers on both coasts. It looks like they want at least one more defensive end, and maybe more. Keep in mind some of the defensive ends offered could also play up as outside linebackers, much like Tyler Dippel and Brendan Kelly are expected to do this fall.

Jonahakaufman: 1. Do you think that being in the B1G West division means that Wisconsin will not be able to take advantage of the new eastern footprint of the conference? At various times Wisconsin has put a focus on recruiting some of the areas out east, but they don't seem to be putting much focus on that now. Do you think that is why they have seemed to put so much effort in Georgia?

2. What affect does the new focus on Polynesians and kids from Utah have on the number of offers? I'm specifically wondering about how a Mormon mission affects scholarship numbers.

3. My biggest concern about the new coaching staff is possible changes in the strength and conditioning program. Have you heard anything from kids who were recruited by the old staff and the new staff in terms of any difference in how they talk about the S&C program?


Gorman: 1. This has been a hot topic of debate recently, but I really don't think it will hurt them that much. It ultimately boils down to telling a recruit that they'll play in their home state once over the course of their college career versus twice.

Hammock is certainly still making his presence felt in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Between those two areas, his efforts with Ben Strickland in Georgia and Beatty working the mid-Atlantic, the Badgers are hitting the East Coast as hard as they ever have. The areas they haven't been as active in as in the past are Midwestern states outside of Ohio.

2. This is all fairly new to me, but it seems like the scholarship will go into effect when they return from their mission. So Ula Tolutau, for example, can be considered a 2016 recruit for scholarship planning purposes.

3. The biggest difference so far seems to be more effort being put into preventative care and flexibility than the last staff. What the opportunity cost is there is yet to be known.

tiny_man77: Who's the next in-state offer?

Gorman: I think Dominic Cizauskas is the next in-state player to receive and offer. The Badgers currently have no linebackers committed, and Cizauskas would slot nicely into the inside linebacker role. Look for the offer to come in or around summer camp.


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