Recruiting Anniversary: Five-Star OL Josh Oglesby
Since Rivals.com first began ranking recruiting classes, the University of Wisconsin has signed a bevy of four-star prospects from coast-to-coast. They have only signed one five-star prospect, the only five-star prospect the state has ever produced and it’s fitting he was an offensive lineman.
Josh Oglesby was a can’t miss prospect coming out of Milwaukee St. Francis and his offer list reflected as such. Ranked the No.1 offensive tackle in the country by Rivals and the No.10 prospect nationally, Oglesby officially announced his commitment on this day 14 years ago.
We look back at the highest-ranked recruit (so far) to join the Badgers program.
The State of the Class
Bret Bielema had just been given the keys for the Wisconsin machine from Barry Alvarez and was following his mentor’s blueprint: start building his recruiting class from inside the boundaries of the state. Bielema’s first commitment of the class felt like a foregone conclusion – as former UW receiving great Al Toon’s son, Nick, gave his verbal commitment to the program two months earlier. Landing a five-star offensive tackle – whether he was from in-state or not – would have given Wisconsin a huge recruiting boost.
Rated the No.1 offensive tackle in the nation, Oglesby had no shortage of scholarship options. His top choices were Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC. In the last week of April alone, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and coaches from Florida State, Michigan and USC were all stopping by Milwaukee St. Francis to recruit him.
As Oglesby was evaluating his schools, he admitted to USC’s Rivals site that his grandmother suffering from cancer was weighing on his mind and was influencing his recruitment.
“I like football more than anyone, but you have to put things in perceptive,” he told BadgerBlitz.com at the time. “Family always comes first, and I'm always going to be there to support my family. That won't change if I'm 90 miles away or 900 miles away. But it makes me question leaving home because when something does happens, I could be too far away to really help.”
Oglesby spent the weekend before his recruitment as Wisconsin’s spring game, getting a chance to spend a lot of time with the Toons and getting a chance to talk to left tackle Joe Thomas. Thinking he was going to commit to Wisconsin already, the visit practically solidified his thought process.
Stating his commitment would be to the school where he was the best fit, where he could play in a balanced offense that could set him up for success in the NFL, Oglesby called Bielema to tell him.
“It was really tough. I guess you could say it was a close race between by top six schools. (But the comfort level) couldn’t be matched anywhere … When you find that fit you know it, and I definitely found that place in Madison.”
“He's a great kid, a great student. I really think Josh's best football is ahead of him. He's already a great football player but he's going to get bigger and stronger once he gets into a college atmosphere. Josh has great feet, his hip explosion and knee bend are tremendous, and he finishes his blocks."
- St Francis coach Doug Sarver told Scout.com during his recruitment.
Oglesby redshirted his freshman season at Wisconsin because he tore his right ACL in the third game of his high school season, which also caused some meniscus damage. Injuries unfortunately became a common theme in his career.
He started three games his redshirt freshman season and another nine his sophomore year but he missed three more games that latter season with knee injuries. Hoping to hit his stride his junior season, Oglesby hurt his knee in the second week of the season, aggravated the injury in practice later in the season and underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, missing the final six games.
His best season was his 2011 senior season. Although he missed another game with a knee injury, Oglesby played well enough to be a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Going undrafted in 2012 NFL Draft, Oglesby signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins, the only team that would medically clear him after six knee surgeries left him without any cartilage in both knees. Swelling in both knees became too much for Oglesby, who decided after the Redskins’ rookie minicamp that he would retire from playing and move into coaching.
Oglesby was worthy of his high school ranking, as he was light years above everyone else on his level in terms of physicality, strength and athleticism. It’s a shame that knee injuries plagued him throughout his career, as he never was truly able to reach his potential. Even with all his knee problems, Oglesby showed his talent level during that 2011 Big Ten championship season. He’s currently working his way up the coaching ladder, getting hired for his first offensive line coaching position with San Jose State for this upcoming season.