The 2021 Wisconsin football recruiting class is almost full, but there are still a few missing pieces.
It has been well-reported that the 2021 recruiting class for the Badgers is one of, if not the best class in Wisconsin football history. Some notable recruits in the class are four-stars J.P. Benzschawel, Riley Mahlman, T.J. Bollers, Hunter Wohler, and Jack Pugh. They also have their future quarterback in Deacon Hill, who has been blowing up lately, earning an offer from his dream school, UCLA.
Even though the Badgers have one of their best classes ever, it doesn’t mean they are done recruiting. They still have some big targets they are looking get a commitment from. Starting with one of the best offensive linemen in the country.
Nolan Rucci is a five-star offensive tackle out of Pennsylvania who would be the gem of almost any team’s recruiting class. He is the younger brother of current-Wisconsin football tight end, Hayden Rucci. Nolan has been on the Badgers radar for a long time and they currently sit in his top nine, which also includes Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio St, Stanford, Penn St, and Notre Dame.
The current feeling is it is really down to Penn St, his hometown school where his dad also played, and Wisconsin. 247 Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong has predicted Rucci to Wisconsin and his confidence has been increasing as of late.
He has a great relationship with a lot of the players, whether it is the guys he hangs out with on campus when visiting his brother in Madison or from other Wisconsin commits on Twitter or the infamous group chat among the 2021 recruits. When Skyler Bell committed to Wisconsin, the future Badgers wanted to let Rucci know about it.
If Rucci decided to join the Wisconsin football 2021 recruiting class, that alone would raise them from 17th in the nation to 15th.
Jake Ratzlaff is an interesting situation. On top of football, he is also an exceptional hockey player. His recruitment is kind of at a standstill right now because he is currently waiting to see the results of the NHL draft that will take place in early October. The thought is, that if he is taken earlier in the draft, he will probably end up playing hockey, but if he is taken later, he will go the route of football. Right now, according to Draft Site, he is projected to go in the fifth round, which would be later than he would want, meaning football is looking more realistic.
If he chooses football, his recruitment will come down to Wisconsin and Minnesota. Adding Ratzloff to the current class would bump the Badgers’ team score up a bit, but they would still be at 17th in the country.
Another outside linebacker target is Yanni Karaliftis. He is the highest-rated uncommitted player in the state of Indiana. His older brother, George, is a member of the Purdue football team and has been very successful there. Right now, it seems like Purdue is the likeliest school to land him, but Wisconsin has been persistent and may have an actual shot at landing him. Right now, Badger 247 reporter Evan Flood has a prediction in Wisconsin’s favor, but it is a pretty low confidence rating (2 out of 10).
The addition of Karaliftis to the current class would raise them to the 16th ranked class in the country.
Even though the Skyler Bell recently committed to Wisconsin, the Badgers may still be looking to add another receiver. One name to keep an eye on is Joseph Manjack. He was previously committed to SMU but decommitted in July.
Adding Manjack to the class wouldn’t move the needle much, but he could be a classic Badger that would come in relatively unknown and leave Madison as a productive player.
If things go the Badgers’ way, and they get Rucci, Ratzlaff, or Karaliftis and then add Manjack, they would rise from the 17th ranked class in the nation to 14th overall. That ranking would put them ahead of some teams like Oklahoma and Texas. Have a recruiting class that high would be huge for the Wisconsin football program. If they can continue to bring in bigger recruits, future recruiting will benefit even more.