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February 5, 2014
NSD: The one(s) who got away
With Signing Day just around the corner, BadgerBlitz.com thought it would be fitting to take look back at a few prospects "who got away" throughout the course of an exciting recruiting cycle.
The following is a list of the top five players who strongly considered the University of Wisconsin but decided -- for one reason or another -- to go in a different direction.
1.) Joe Mixon - Wisconsin was a serious contender for Mixon, a five-star running back who accumulated over 50 scholarship offers, since the summer. He took an official visit in the fall and had the Badgers in his top three before selecting Oklahoma at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"I am taking my talents to coach (Bob) Stoops and Oklahoma" Mixon said during his announcement. "I'm not going to lie. Watching that Alabama game (in the Sugar Bowl) sealed the deal."
Wisconsin is expected to sign projected tailbacks Caleb Kinlaw and Taiwan Deal on Wednesday.
Mixon's recruitment, however, may not be over, as UCLA could steal his signature on Signing Day.
2.) Ryan Izzo - Wisconsin shot up Izzo's list after his took an unofficial visit in the summer. A few months later, the staff welcomed him back to campus for an official visit that also went well.
UW and Florida State eventually emerged as the two favorites before Izzo, a three-star tight end, selected the Seminoles in September.
"I think it was how I clicked with Coach (Tim) Brewster," Izzo told Rivals.com. "He's a great guy and he has a lot of experience in working with past tight ends, both in college and in the NFL was pretty big. Ultimately, my great relationship with him was huge."
The Badgers were also unsuccessful in landing fellow New Jersey tight end Mike Gesicki, who will sign with Penn State on Wednesday. Wisconsin is not expected to sign a scholarship tight end in this recruiting class.
Destination: Florida State
3.) Jamil Kamara - Another U.S. Army All-American Bowl announcement that didn't go in favor of the Badgers, Kamara, a four-star wide receiver, selected Virginia in early January.
"I'm close with my parents and Virginia is really close to them," Kamara told Rivals.com. "Wisconsin is really far. Pittsburgh is pretty much the same as Virginia but they are doing it with western Pennsylvania guys instead of Virginia Beach guys."
Kamara would have been an excellent addition to UW's 2014 class, but the staff has recruited the position well and are expected to sign Natrell Jamerson, Krenwick Sanders, Chris Jones, Dareian Watkins and George Rushing on Wednesday.
4.) Joe Keels - This recruitment was certainly interesting. Keels, who played his high school ball at Kenosha Bradford, committed to Wisconsin in early October despite rumors he still needed to take care of a few things academically.
After Keels' commitment, offers continued to roll in from powerhouses Oregon and Alabama, among others. Despite the attention, Keels, from Highland Community College in Kansas, appeared to be solid to Wisconsin.
That changed after an official visit to Nebraska and Keels and flipped to the Cornhuskers on Dec. 10.
"I just didn't get the feel I did at Nebraska," Keels told BadgerBlitz.com. "I didn't feel they (Wisconsin) backed me 100 percent."
Sources indicated the Badgers stopped recruiting Keels prior to his announcement, talk that Keels was quick to dismiss. Regardless, the junior college standout will be signing with Nebraska on Wednesday.
5.) Craig Evans pledged to Wisconsin three different times during his recruitment.
But the four-star defensive tackle won't be signing with the Badgers on Wednesday. A 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive tackle from Sun Prairie, Evans and head coach Gary Andersen recently had a discussion and came to an agreement to part ways, according to a source.
Instead, Evans will sign with Big Ten foe Michigan State after recently taking an unofficial visit to East Lansing.
The Badgers are now expected to sign just three defensive linemen on Wednesday in tackle Jeremy Patterson and ends Conor Sheehy and Billy Hirschfeld.
Destination: Michigan State
Others considered: Keishawn Richardson, Rohan Blackwood, Tyler Burke and Jalen Brown, Qadree Ollison, Kano Dillon, Andre Boggs, Kaleb McGary, among others.