Wisconsin Football got some good news from the recruiting trail on Sunday.
Last weekend was one to forget for Wisconsin fans, as the Badgers had one of the most abysmal performances we have seen during the Paul Chryst era in the loss to Northwestern in Evanston. After the defeat, we are now faced with the reality that this team will most likely fail to achieve any of its major goals for this season.
At least something positive came from the weekend, however, as in-state offensive tackle Ben Barten (Stratford, WI) became the fourth player to join Wisconsin’s 2020 recruiting class with his commitment on Saturday.
According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Barten is a 3-star prospect and is currently the No. 54 offensive tackle and No. 535 overall player nationally in the 2020 class. He is the fifth-ranked player in the state behind fellow Wisconsin offensive tackle commits Trey Wedig (Wales, WI) and Jack Nelson (Stoughton, WI) uncommitted defensive end Logan Wilson (Kimberly, WI) and Iowa defensive end commit Michael Lois (Elkhorn, WI).
Barten committed to Wisconsin over other offers from Iowa and South Dakota State. Had he kept his recruitment open a little longer more opportunities likely would have come his way, as he has been in contact with Notre Dame, Iowa State, and others as of late.
I really like this pick-up for the Badgers.
First of all, Iowa has made it a point of emphasis on the recruiting trail to go into Wisconsin to poach talent, and though Paul Chryst and his staff have mostly succeeded in putting a fence around their in-state targets, it was nonetheless reassuring the see the Badgers once again beat out their Big Ten West rival for a player both programs coveted.
As a player, Barten is a perfect fit for Wisconsin. He has an imposing frame at 6’7 and 250 pounds and will be able to add on plenty of weight once he gets started in Wisconsin’s strength program. There’s little question that this kid will be able to hold his own and then some in the trenches by the time he is called upon to contribute.
Barten also possesses valuable positional versatility. He’s listed as an offensive tackle by the recruiting services, but he also plays defensive end for his high school team. Indeed, there’s a strong chance he could wind up there in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense, as he told Badger247’s Evan Flood that the coaches told him he could play on either side of the ball for them.
Regardless of the position he ultimately ends up at, Barten’s upside looks as though it could be particularly high due to his athletic background. He is a standout basketball player for Stratford, leading the team in scoring and coming in at a close second in rebounding en route to first team all-conference honors as a sophomore last season. As I wrote in a piece last week discussing newly-offered 2021 offensive tackle Riley Mahlman, who also has a hoops background, basketball skills often translate very well to the gridiron, especially in the trenches.
I always give Paul Chryst and his staff the benefit of the doubt in terms of talent evaluation, especially with in-state players, particularly linemen. I’m excited to see what Barten can develop into in Madison.