Wisconsin football made an unusual offer to a five-star player on the last day of September.
The Wisconsin football program is known best for taking undervalued talent and developing them into NFL caliber players. It’s very rare the Badgers land top recruits, or even go after them on the recruiting trail. But things are apparently changing in Madison.
Five-star wide receiver Kyle Ford from Orange, California announced Sunday that he had just been extended a scholarship offer by the Badgers. Ford is the number five wide receiver in the class of 2019 and the number 30 overall player, according to 247’s Composite ratings.
Ford has great size at 6-2 and 212 pounds. His ability to work down the field with speed and win battles for the ball with strength are traits that any program could benefit from.
Most recruits in this stage of the recruiting cycle have made up their minds about where they’ll play college football. Ford is one of the few who still has experts guessing, which is likely why Wisconsin decided to join in on the fun. The Badgers have already gone to California and snagged Spencer Lytle from the grasp of Clemson. Why not try to their luck with a game-changer like Ford?
According to his 247 profile, Ford has yet to visit USC, which is also where 247 experts have him projected to commit. The Badgers have a lot of work to do if they hope to earn the services of Ford for the next few years, but it all starts with those visits. Ford has already taken visits to Colorado and Washington and has three more per NCAA rules. If the Badgers can get Ford to campus there’s good reason to think they’ll become a contender in this battle.
I’m remaining cautiously optimistic about Ford because his hometown team, USC, is a force to be reckoned with in every recruiting battle. As long as an offer stands from the Trojans, they’re in strong contention. But the fact that Ford hasn’t committed could be a result of many factors.
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The most significant thing at play here could be Ford’s recent injury. His final season of high school play is over and his knee will require surgery. I don’t think it’s by mistake that Wisconsin offered right after the injury occurred.
An injury this significant means he’ll likely miss most of the offseason camps next year for his team and might have to redshirt to get back up to speed. A lot of recruits rated as highly as Ford can make immediate impacts as true freshmen. If a program like USC can’t get that out of Ford anymore, perhaps they’re interest is dwindling.
Wisconsin is a program that redshirts a lot of incoming freshmen anyway. Landing a talent like Ford and having to sit him out for a season isn’t something that would turn the Badgers away. Ford would be a rare talent in Madison and sitting for a season would fit the timeline of the receiver position group full of underclassmen better too.
Another angle the Badgers have in Ford’s recruitment is Graham Mertz, the crown jewel of the 2019 recruiting class. The four-star quarterback and the fourth overall pocket passer in the class of 2019, according to 247, was teammates with Ford at The Opening. Mertz is active on social media to other uncommitted recruits the Badgers have offered. Ford is no different. He even retweeted Mertz’s tweet about Ford’s offer and recruitment to Wisconsin. I can’t imagine Ford getting away from the Badgers without Mertz having something to say about it.
The Badgers are behind the 8-ball on Ford and have to work quickly to make up the ground. If Ford’s interest in Wisconsin starts rolling in the next couple of weeks the Badgers may be on to something.