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July 10, 2014
Badger Watch 2: Safeties
With summer camp complete and more commitments in place, Wisconsin has a better idea of what its 2015 recruiting class will look like. Over the next two weeks, BadgerBlitz.com will reanalyze UW's recruiting efforts with a position-by-position breakdown of targets to see how the Badgers will fill their 2015 cycle.
Today, we reexamine the safeties. | QUARTERBACKS | RUNNING BACKS | TIGHT ENDS | WIDE RECEIVERS | OFFENSIVE LINEMEN | DEFENSIVE LINE | LINEBACKERS |
1. Last update: Badger Watch: Safeties (5/4/14)
2. What's happened since April?
Without a pressing need at safety in this class -- Wisconsin signed three in the 2014 cycle -- not much has happened at the position on the recruiting front.
Possibly the biggest news this month occurred when Antonyo Sotolongo scheduled an official visit to Madison. The three-star prospect from Gulliver Prep High School in Florida will visit with prep teammate Dominic Sheppard, who currently has the Badgers in the lead for his services.
"We talk about recruiting sometimes and joke around about going to the same school together," Sotolongo said about recruiting conversations he's had with Sheppard. "We never really have talked too seriously about going to school together, but I think that would be a lot of fun."
In a recent interview with Rivals.com, Sotolongo indicated that Arkansas, Duke and Maryland were on top in his recruitment, but that could change this fall.
On the offer front, Wisconsin targeted Utah's Quinn Fabrizio from Alta High School in May. Gary Andersen is very familiar with recruits who take religious missions, something the senior-to-be plans to do after graduation.
"I plan on going on a mission right out of high school," Fabrizio told BadgerBlitz.com. "I'm also thinking about graduating early to get that process started earlier, so I've been talking to schools about that. But I'm definitely going a mission.
"It's definitely helpful when coaches understand Mormon kids and kids who go on missions. That's certainly something that's big with coach Andersen and Wisconsin."
Since the last update, A.J. Westbrook committed to Florida State. The three-star prospect picked up an offer from the Badgers in mid-June but jumped on the opportunity to play close to home.
3. What happens next?
What happens next will largely depend on how the staff views both Fabrizio and Dylan Kane. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, respectively, both could project to outside linebacker where the staff already has a commitment from Mohamed Barry.
Of the two, Kane, a two-star prospect from Honolulu (HI) Kamehameha School, is probably best suited to stick at safety in college. He had Wisconsin on top of his recruitment but recently picked up an offer from Oregon.
"I've been talking with coach Chad Kauha'aha'a," Kane told BadgerBlitz.com. "He said he liked how I played. I really appreciate the stuff he had to say about me and the school. Our relationship is real good. We haven't talked in a few weeks but with the local ties that he has here, everyone knows he's a great guy. I have a real high interest in Wisconsin right now.
"I don't really have any leaders right now, but Wisconsin, Boise State and Oregon State are up there. I think those schools are standing out a little bit. I definitely want to get off the island to go to school. A place like Wisconsin would be great."
Wisconsin is also in the mix for Mykelti Williams and Kylan Johnson. Both are in the mold of a more traditional safety, along with Willie Smith and Jonathan Crawford, who both hold the Badgers in high regard but are a bit lower on UW's recruiting board.
4. Class Prediction:
Adding a safety in this class is more of a luxury than a necessity, but I still think the staff adds at least one in the current cycle. Sotolongo and Williams are takes this fall and it would also be hard for the staff to turn away either Kane or Fabrizio, regardless of where they project.
While a handful of positions are finished or near complete, I think we won't know exactly where Wisconsin sits at safety until the fall. It will probably come down to numbers and if there's room, look for one of the four mentioned prospects to sign with Wisconsin in February.