Former Wisconsin Football pledge Marcus Graham flipped his commitment to Stanford late last week. How can we expect the staff to fill that vacancy?
Flipping season gives, but it also takes away.
Wisconsin has been heavily involved with 2019 recruits committed elsewhere this fall, adding former Kansas tight end pledge Clay Cundiff to its class and emerging as major favorites to get the signatures of Akron fullback commit Quan Easterling and Rutgers linebacker commit Mohamed Toure.
Last Friday, however, Wisconsin found itself on the other side of a flip, as wide receiver commit Marcus Graham announced on Twitter that he was decommitting and joining Stanford’s class.
"First off, I want to start out by thanking everyone at Wisconsin,” Graham tweeted. “From the coaches in Coach Chryst, Coach Gilmore, and Coach Settle to all the people I met and encountered while I visited Wisconsin, I’m truly grateful for your belief in me as a person and a student athlete.Over the past few months, I’ve been faced with many forms of adversity. These tests have made me more enlightened on where the bigger picture truly stands for me, which led me to announce that I am de-committing from the University of Wisconsin.“With that being said, I would like to thank Coach Shaw along with Coach Kennedy with allowing me this opportunity (to) officially commit to Stanford University!!I’m truly grateful for the great parents and coaches that I have to help support me throughout this process. I also want to thank everyone from Mountain Island Charter from teachers to administration. Thank you for everything you’ve done!#CardClass19 #Fearthetree"
Wisconsin was Graham’s only Power 5 offer when he committed to the Badgers back in April. Stanford came along and offered a couple of months later in June, at which point he said he was still was solid in his pledge to Wisconsin.
Though Graham was one of the lower-ranked players in Wisconsin’s class, I felt that he was a major sleeper with a high ceiling in Madison, even after he went down at the beginning of his high school season with an ACL injury. He was a dynamic playmaker in high school with exciting athleticism and intriguing positional versatility, having played quarterback, running back, and wide receiver for his team over the course of his prep career and amassing some prolific numbers along the way.
You get the sense that the staff may have had an inclination that this move was coming when you consider the recent offer to East Kentwood (Grand Rapids, MI) wide receiver Stephan Bracey, who is a fairly similar prospect in terms of his projected role as a slot receiver/return man for the Badgers. Bracey committed to Western Michigan on October 9th, but that was just shortly before Wisconsin came in with the offer. Now that Graham is no longer a member of the class, look for the staff to really turn up the heat on Bracey and seal the deal in that recruitment soon.
Graham is the second wide receiver recruit and third overall player in the 2019 class to back off his pledge to Wisconsin and commit to another school, joining safety Bryson Shaw (Ohio State) and fellow receiver Nolan Groulx (Wake Forest).
UPDATE (11/6/18, 1:00 PM CT) – Stephan Bracey committed to Wisconsin this afternoon.