Wisconsin football: 3 things Badgers need to accomplish in December on recruiting trail

Each month, Wisconsin beat reporter Jesse Temple will take a look at the Badgers’ recruiting to-do list here on Land of 10. This outlook focuses on three concerns for the program’s recruiting efforts in the weeks ahead. Today, we’ll look at what Wisconsin needs to accomplish in December.

Wisconsin appears to have its 2018 recruiting class wrapped up, although the Badgers could try to add another piece before signing day. Coaches already have Wisconsin off to a great recruiting start in 2019, with four commitments, and will look to find more prospects in the months ahead.

Sign 2018 Badgers commits

For the first time, the NCAA will allow high school seniors to take part in an early signing period, which will occur from Dec. 20-22. Student-athletes don’t have to sign early and are free to wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 7. But signing in December allows players to secure their spot with a program a full 1½ months earlier.

It is the perfect development for a place like Wisconsin, which routinely has its players committed several months before signing day. This will prevent other schools from trying to poach those commits in the weeks leading up to the February signing day.

Wisconsin has 19 committed players in its 2018 recruiting class, and it’s expected that most will sign early with the Badgers. Even if some players don’t sign in December, there is little reason to panic.

Continue to pursue new 2019 prospects

Wisconsin had a great November on the recruiting trail and was able to secure commitments from two players in the 2019 class: offensive tackle Logan Brown (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and running back Julius Davis (Menomonee Falls, Wis.). With Wisconsin playing in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday and reaching the cusp of the College Football Playoff, it will be interesting to see how the Badgers can carry that momentum forward in recruiting.

Wisconsin offered scholarships to several 2019 recruits in November. That list includes wide receiver Ty DeArman (Arlington, Texas), cornerback Bobby Wolfe (Houston), defensive end Aeneas DiCosmo (Oradell, N.J.), offensive lineman Joe Tippmann (Fort Wayne, Ind.), cornerback Cam’Ron Kelly (Chesapeake, Va.), inside linebacker Nick Henrich (Omaha, Neb.) and Davis, who committed three days after he earned the offer.

Expect to see more offers coming from Wisconsin, particularly when coaches have a chance to reach out to recruits after the league title game. The NCAA contact period runs through Dec. 16, so the next two weeks will be vital for the Badgers.

Stay active on offered players

There are a number of high school juniors Wisconsin has offered that have shown a great deal of interest in the Badgers. Any of them could become the next committed player, so it’s important for Wisconsin to remain active in their recruitment.

Among the offered players high on Wisconsin are wide receiver Nolan Groulx (Cornelius, N.C.), wide receiver Craig Young (Fort Wayne, Ind.), tight end Hayden Rucci (Lititz, Pa.), offensive tackle Trevor Keegan (Crystal Lake, Ill.), tackle Bryce Benhart (Lakeville, Minn.), tackle Andrew Kristofic (Gibsonia, Pa.), guard Zeke Correll (Cincinnati), defensive end Michael Fletcher (Flint, Mich.), safety Lewis Cine (Everett, Mass.) and Henrich, the linebacker from Omaha.

Several of those players were able to take unofficial visits for games during Wisconsin’s season. Wisconsin already is ahead of its normal pace with four commitments in 2019. We’ll see if the Badgers can land a fifth before the end of the year.

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