It's been just nine days since the Badgers finished their 2012 season with a 20-14 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, but Gary Andersen and his new coaching staff are already thinking ahead.
The Badgers will be back on campus for their spring semester in under two weeks, and while the coaching staff will have limited contact with them during their offseason training they can still focus on recruiting. Jan. 11 marks the start of a contact period for college coaching staffs, and Andersen said he will start making in-home visits with recruits in Wisconsin's 2013 class once that period starts.
And with signing day for the 2013 class under a month away, the Badgers are also starting to turn their attention to prospects in the 2014 recruiting class. The Badgers currently have four known commitments in their 2014 class, including quarterback Chance Stewart and in-state defensive lineman Conor Sheehy. Andersen said Thursday he has not been able to get in touch with all of Wisconsin's 2014 prospects yet, but the Badgers will probably start to ramp up communication with them once they're done with signing day in early February.
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As for what the Badgers can do right now, Andersen said he and his staff just need to start getting to know the players they'll be recruiting over the next year.
"The important part for us right now is to simply let them know who we are," Andersen said. "[Our] plans for the program, let them understand who we're going to be as a coaching staff. Kind of put our money where our mouth is."
Andersen also said he and his staff will be very honest and up front with the prospects they're in contact with.
"We have our needs list, we've gone through this program now and we've kind of tweaked our needs to where we think they are as far as offense and defense and special teams," Andersen said. "We're going to be honest with young men and let them know where they sit for the future of Wisconsin football with us in charge."
Andersen will look into JUCOs
Under former head coach Bret Bielema, the Badgers didn't dabble very much in recruiting junior college players, preferring instead to focus their efforts on high school prospects that could be on campus for four to five years.
And while Andersen and his new staff will still put their primary focus on high school players, Andersen said they would look to the junior college ranks on occasion if a need arises at a particular position.
"It has to be a special young man that's prepared to accept the responsibility and put in the work to start his first year in the Big Ten," Andersen said. "If we believe that he fits us from a standpoint academically and socially, and can get it done on the football field then yeah we'll look down the roads of the junior colleges.
"We're in the process of doing that now."
Andersen said the and his staff might look into recruiting a junior college player in the secondary, since the Badgers will return just one starter from last year's unit. The next players on the two-deep at both cornerback positions and at strong safety are still inexperienced, and the Badgers under Bielema previously received a commitment from junior college safety Tiquention Coleman, before Coleman followed Bielema with his commitment to Arkansas.
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