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Is Tweet really the reason for Badgers, Ben Bryant parting ways?

Friday afternoon provides shocking parting of the ways between Badgers and 1st quarterback commit in the 2018 recruiting class.

Recruiting high school kids to play college athletics can be a strange journey. However, that rule usually doesn’t apply to the University of Wisconsin. It’s one of the more boring programs when it comes to the recruiting process.

That’s exactly how head coach Paul Chryst likes it, and it is how it has been playing out in the 2018 recruiting cycle to date.

That all changed on Friday afternoon though, as long-time quarterback commit Ben Bryant announced he was re-opening his recruitment. According to a report by Illini247, Bryant and the Badgers parted ways over a tweet about an offer from the University of Georgia.

Bryant indicated that things went South in his recruitment following his tweet.

“After I posted the news about Georgia they made it clear there wasn’t a spot for me anymore,” said Bryant.

““I was 100% committed to Wisconsin for the past five months. I always saw myself signing with them in December.”

Bryant refused to elaborate beyond the interview he gave to Gus Ramos of Illini247.

Naturally it is hard to know exactly what went on exactly, but we have a few years of track record with head coach Paul Chryst and Co. and for things to go this sour there has to be something bigger than a tweet at hand.

Sure, a tweet criticizing UW’s offense and in particular a quarterback by running back commit Antonio Williams led to his no longer being welcome in the Badgers program. That is an extreme and wholly warranted example of Twitter causing an offer to be pulled.

The suggestion here is that UW’s staff is so petty as to believe the hint of another offer is the end of a commitment. It simply doesn’t hold water against the body of evidence, and Bryant points that out on his own.

According to the Illini247 article:

Bryant was stunned by the news because he has seen other recruits post offers while being committed to other programs.

There’s little history of UW demanding undying loyalty on the recruiting trail. It does expect a player who is committed to stay that way (as any program would), mainly because Chryst and Co. emphasize a player playing out the process until they are 100 percent ready to make a commitment. There’s little in the way of intense pressure unless there are multiple offers out there on the verge of committing.

So, it is interesting that it would happen in this situation. Of course, it could well be that UW was turned off by the fact that Bryant seemed to indicate he was open to what Georgia had to offer and decided to move on.

Could it be that Bryant isn’t letting on as to the level of communication with Georgia and the offer he received? After all, how did the Dawgs receive his film and have his contact information if he wasn’t in communication with scholarship services or the staff at Georgia in the first place?

We will only really ever know one side of the story as the Badgers coaching staff are barred from talking about recruits that have not signed a national letter of intent.

One thing is clear no mater what went down — communication between the UW coaching staff and Bryant had severely broken down in the past few months. Whether Bryant’s claim of a tweet being the issue or something else was at work, the Badgers staff saw enough to move on from Bryant and his recruitment.

Does it suck for a player who “wanted” to be at Wisconsin in December? Bryant is saying all the right things in his one media interview, suggesting it does indeed suck. But, just as players often move on from commitments, programs also continue evaluations and could choose to move on as well.

That is the harsh nature of the recruiting process.

UW may have a quick answer to Bryant’s departure from the 2018 class though, as Jacksonville, Fla. quarterback Carter Bradley was in the mix for the second spot and could easily step in to the class should he still want the spot.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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