Graduation is complete, meaning summer has arrived for everyone on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. For the Wisconsin Badgers football program the focus has turned heavily to the recruiting trail and to camp season.
Currently, 10 players have made verbal commitments to the Badgers and that means UW is well on its way to completing its class earlier than most thought would happen. However, there is still plenty of work to be done.
One position that is certainly key to success in Madison is the offensive line. Arguably it is Wisconsin’s premier position, but it is one that they seemingly don’t need to go after the five-star player to be successful with.
How has the recruiting gone along the offensive line in 2018? Let’s find out.
Wisconsin has gone in to the state of Michigan for players in each of the last three classes, but they’ve also been smart about it and have gone after players off the beaten path if you will. They’ve laid off the kids from Cass Tech for example, where efforts to get a foot in the door haven’t paid off in the past.
One of the best examples of hitting the jackpot is with offensive lineman David Moorman, who could see the field this season. As for Furtney, the Badgers were in the driver’s seat early on in the process and following a visit to campus on March 14, this recruitment seemed to be over.
The No. 54 ranked offensive tackle is a classic UW offensive lineman at 6-5 and already 280 pounds in high school. He mauls in the run game and isn’t afraid to be nasty from whistle to whistle no matter who is across from him. Furtney may not be a flashy name, but given the depth and youth still around this current group it’s about finding the fits that this coaching staff likes most. UW prioritized his recruitment early on and got his pledge on his visit.
Wisconsin doesn’t have a large need along the offensive line in this recruiting class, but expect them to take one or two more along with Furtney. So, who are the Badgers prioritizing as they head in to the summer?
Bay Port is becoming an in-state pipeline for the Wisconsin Badgers. Alec Ingold was the first since offensive lineman Dan Buenning back in the day, but he was followed by four-star offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen. Now, an impressive two-sport star could be in the mix to join them in Madison as well.
Plumb is a talented basketball player who is getting attention in football as well. The Badgers recently offered the intriguing athlete. Right now, Plumb is listed as a tight end, but he’s already 6-8 and 240 pounds. Wisconsin has told him they’ll recruit him for tight end with the idea of bulking up to offensive line, but also let his growth dictate where he plays.
That’s how athletic he is and how intriguing a prospect Plumb is.
It was long thought that Plumb was going to choose basketball over football, but it seems like a strong possibility that offers coming in for football from across the Big Ten has changed his mind on the sport he’ll play at the next level.
UW has gone back to a school that was a high priority under Gary Andersen — Salt Lake City East. Even though things didn’t work out with running back/fullback Ula Tolutau, the Badgers have made three offers at the school thanks to the relationship defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfeld has at the school.
While the Badgers may not be hot on this battle, they are in it and Vakalahi’s recruitment by the Badgers is likely to heat up this summer.
State of Recruiting:
It’s amazing to think that the Badgers are in a position to really pick and choose along the offensive line. But, it is a credit to the re-build that head coach Paul Chryst and offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph has done.
Wisconsin has recruited well and gotten a lot younger at the position over the past few recruiting classes. That means there is less need in this recruiting class. In fact, the Badgers have put out just nine total offers to offensive linemen this recruiting cycle.
That should tell you all you need to know. It appears that camp season may be where the Badgers really begin to fill out the recruiting board and get less picky as original priority offers get sorted out.
Look for two or three players to be added to Furtney’s commitment at most, as UW looks to start spreading out its recruiting efforts going forward.