Wisconsin Football Recruiting: A Look at the Top Class of 2016 Prospects in the State


Wisconsin hasn’t always been a hotbed for recruiting, but in the 2015 NFL Draft we saw a pair of Kenosha natives — Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Michigan State’s Trey Lyles — get drafted within the first 15 picks. Here’s a look at the top Class of 2016 prospects coming out of the state that the Wisconsin football recruiting staff, and college football programs around the country, are targeting.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Currently, of the top nine in-state products listed by 247Sports, the number 5-9 prospects have committed to a college.

The Badgers have locked up the No. 7 and No. 8 guys on the list — outside linebacker Mason Stokke from Menomonie and weak side defensive end Luke Benzschawel from Grafton, respectively.

Other top prospects from Wisconsin are heading to the following schools:

• Inside linebacker Tristian Pipp, Greendale — committed to Western Michigan

• Pro-style quarterback Nate Stanley, Menomonie — committed to Iowa

• Offensive guard Mike Caliendo, Brookfield East — committed to Western Michigan

That leaves four players atop 247Sports rankings who are still up for grabs.

Ben Bredeson

No. 1 on the list is Arrowhead offensive tackle Ben Bredeson, a five-star stud who has offers from school all over the country, from Alabama up to Wisconsin. The 6-5, 293 pound prospect is considered the 4th best offensive tackle in the country, and the 26th best player nation-wide.

He’s being most heavily recruited by Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin will certainly push to get this big time offensive line talent on the roster.

Cole Van Lanen

Behind Bredeson at No. 2 in the state rankings is Bay Port offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen, another potential stud lineman who has amassed a ton of offers nationwide. The four-star player is being most heavily recruited by Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

The 6-5, 275 pound tackle is considered the 20th best tackle prospect in the country, and is another important player to keep in state.

Live Feed

Texas A&M Football vs. Auburn Could Be Key for 5-Star Commit
Texas A&M Football vs. Auburn Could Be Key for 5-Star Commit /

Gig Em Gazette

  • Duke basketball prioritizing frontcourt prospects in 2025Ball Durham
  • Texas Football: 4-Star UF commit Wardell Macks talks to UT 'daily'Hook'em Headlines
  • Hugh Freeze tempers Auburn's expectations before brutal SEC stretchFly War Eagle
  • Kansas basketball: Liam McNeeley cuts list to two, includes Jayhawks and IndianaThrough the Phog
  • Michigan Wolverines news: Jim Harbaugh wants J.J. McCarthy 'gunslinging', plus a drop in recruiting rankingsGBMWolverine
  • Spencer Kanz

    Coming in at No. 3 in the rankings is yet another offensive tackle, Luxemburg-Casco product Spencer Kanz. The three star tackle has yet to be offered by the Badgers, but has been recruited by offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph.

    Kanz has plenty of scholarship offers on the table, but not many from big-name schools. He’ll be a guy to keep an eye on as the recruiting season continues.

    Sam Heckel

    The top three prospects in the state are offensive linemen…want to make a guess where No. 4 play? Yup, on the offensive line.

    Waukesha offensive lineman Sam Heckel is a three-star in-state player who has also yet to receive an offer from the Badgers, although he has also been paid a visit from Rudolph.

    Heckel, like Kanz, will be an interesting recruit to keep an eye on.

    Next: Wisconsin's Current Class of 2016 Commits

    More from Badger of Honor