Wisconsin Football: Recruiting takes a couple of hits

Nov 6, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (center) looks on during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (center) looks on during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Wisconsin football team always seems to be on the cusp of breaking through, but then inevitably coming up short. It feels like it’s been that way for the past decade. In the season, the Badgers can get to the Big Ten Championship but then lose to teams like Ohio State, sometimes badly.

They’ve even made four Rose Bowl appearances since 2011 and are 0-4, losing by a combined 11 points. That’s a minuscule 2.75-point loss per game. Again, they can get close but haven’t been able to get over the proverbial hump.

The same can be said for recruiting.

Before the Badgers were known for mostly gathering 3-star talent and the coaching get more out of them than expected. In the past few years, however, they have been getting more 4 and 5-star recruits. The past two recruiting classes for the Wisconsin football program have been the two highest classes since recruiting ratings have been a thing. That’s a big deal. That means that the program’s success is drawing in higher-rated players.

The problem is, the results haven’t appeared yet. And when that happens, it’s going to be hard to continue to bring in higher talent, even in-state talent.

There was a group of six highly-touted recruits from the state of Wisconsin. They were dubbed the ‘Super Six.’ Many Wisconsin football fans were hopeful the Badgers would be able to get most or all of them.

TE Jerry Cross was the first to nix the Badgers. He was full-speed Penn State and committed as soon as he got the offer.

Braelon Allen ended up reclassifying to the 2021 class and committed to Wisconsin. We all know how that ended up. So the Badgers were 1-for-2 so far with four recruits remaining.

That left the Badgers with offensive linemen Joe Brunner, Carson Hinzman, Billy Schruath, and defensive end Isaac Hamm.

The Badgers were able to score a commitment from Joe Brunner, the state’s top recruit, in June. It sounded like the other three would all be close behind after their huge recruiting day in early June.

But then something happened.

None of the three would pull the trigger. The longer the recruitments drug on, the worse things felt for the Wisconsin football team.

Carson Hinzman is split between Wisconsin and Ohio State and it sounds like it could go either way. Isaac Hamm is still considered a Wisconsin-lean, but the fact that his recruitment has been so quiet is a little concerning.

Then comes Schrauth. He has been all over the place between Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Badger247’s Evan Flood was confident, despite the rumors of him being close to committing to Notre Dame, that he would still be coming to Madison. Until today. Schrauth committed to Notre Dame and Brian Kelly leaving might have actually sealed the deal for him.

So that leaves the Badgers 2-for-4 with two more recruits out there. Right now, I’m not feeling super confident that the Badgers will land Hinzman. So even if the Badgers get Hamm, which Flood is confident they will get, that leaves the Badgers with getting three of the six recruits in Wisconsin.

Not ideal.

Especially considering Wisconsin has always been great about keeping in-state talent at home, especially offensive linemen. Now, the Badgers did also bring in the state’s top QB in Myles Burkett. He put up huge numbers in his senior season and there is plenty to be excited about with him too.

On top of Schrauth committing to Notre Dame, the Badgers also lost an incoming transfer. Kalon Gervin committed to Wisconsin after transferring from Michigan State. Now today, the same day of the Schrauth news, Gervin flipped to Kansas. Kansas. A school that has been awful for a long time.

Before we get upset and worked up, however, we need to think about why he flipped. The Badgers have had one of the best defensive units in the country for a few years in the row. Why wouldn’t he want to play for Jim Leonhard and this defense? A big reason could be playing time. If a player like Faion Hicks were to come back, as he alluded to earlier this season, the playing time could be a lot tighter, whereas playing time at a place like Kansas could offer him a chance to see the field more.

A lot of fans aren’t happy with what’s going on with the recruiting. Some fans are even calling for Paul Chryst to be replaced. Many want to know what’s going on with the recruiting department. The Badgers had a great thing going with Saeed Khalif, who left for Michigan State after the Badgers wouldn’t give him more resources.

Now, since he left, the Badgers haven’t filled those positions yet. So it leaves fans to wonder, are they taking recruiting seriously?

If they want to truly compete for a CFP appearance in the future, they will need to commit more resources to recruiting.

It was a tough day recruiting-wise, but things can get better if Hamm and Hinzman stay home.