Recruiting never stops in Badgers country, and we’re here to help put it all in perspective. Join us every Tuesday and Thursday night for a recap of Wisconsin recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.
2018 CB Donte Burton’s commitment impact on Badgers
When in-state safety Trent Ingalls de-committed from Wisconsin’s 2018 recruiting class in August, the Badgers’ coaching staff had an unexpected void. Over the next several weeks, they sought a player who might fill that spot — and, in turn, presumably fill out the final piece to the class.
Wisconsin found that player last weekend, when cornerback Donte Burton (Loganville, Ga.) committed to the Badgers. Burton took an official visit for Wisconsin’s game Saturday against Northwestern. He wasted little time in selecting Wisconsin as his college destination, informing coaches that night and posting to Twitter the following day.
— Clamp Captain ™ (@burton_donte) October 1, 2017
Wisconsin’s 2018 class is back up to 19 players, which includes four defensive backs: safety Reggie Pearson Jr. (River Rouge, Mich.), as well as cornerbacks Burton, Alexander Smith (Culver City, Calif.) and Travian Blaylock (Humble, Texas).
Burton committed to North Carolina in July 2016, but de-committed on April 13 and Wisconsin offered him a scholarship on May 10. Wisconsin running backs coach John Settle visited Burton two weeks ago and clearly made him a priority in the class. Burton said Settle told him Wisconsin was in need of a cornerback capable of impacting the program immediately. That was exactly what Burton wanted to hear.
“The coaches, they love me,” Burton told Land of 10. “All of them had something to say about what they love about my game. They’d been watching my film and stuff like that. It really just blew me away.”
Donte Burton’s junior season highlights
So, what is Wisconsin getting in Burton? Loganville football coach Mike Humphreys told Land of 10 he knew Burton would be a special player when he watched him participate in 7-on-7 summer camps before his freshman year. Burton started for Humphreys on the varsity team as a freshman, and he has only improved since then. Humphreys said few opposing quarterbacks have thrown in Burton’s direction this season.
“He has good closing speed,” Humphreys said. “He’s very quick to the ball. Competitor. He has a nose for the football. We’ve seen that since his eighth grade summer year when he was going to be an incoming ninth grader. He just had a special knack to get to the football.”
Wisconsin previously appeared to have its 2018 class filled out by July 6, which is remarkably early by college football standards. Ultimately, it took until Sept. 30, but the Badgers found a player they wanted. And one who wanted them back.
Jackson Carman eliminates Wisconsin from contention
Jackson Carman, a 5-star prospect who is ranked as the top tackle in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings, has taken Wisconsin off his list of prospective schools.
Carman, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound senior from Fairfield, Ohio, was expected to take his first official visit to Wisconsin for its game Saturday against Northwestern, but he did not attend.
“He found out he couldn’t enroll at mid-year at Wisconsin, so he didn’t make that trip,” Carman’s head coach Jason Krause told Bill Greene of Scout.com. “He really wants to enroll at mid-year, so Wisconsin is eliminated. He’s working on making a decision on a fifth school, but nothing has been decided yet.”
Jackson Carman junior season highlights
Carman intends to graduate early and enroll in college in January after he participates in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He was always considered a long shot to actually pick Wisconsin. Four other official visits are slated for Ohio State, Florida State, Clemson and USC.
Wisconsin has one tackle in its 2018 recruiting class in Michael Furtney (Milan, Mich.), a 3-star prospect and the No. 59 tackle in the country, per 247Sports.
Eventful weekend for basketball program wraps up
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard and the Badgers’ staff had two uncommitted 2018 prospects on campus for official visits last weekend: 6-foot-10 center Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn.) and 6-9 forward Jack Hemphill (Raleigh, N.C.). Both players are nearing a college decision but continue to evaluate their options.
Hedstrom has been offered a 4-for-5 scholarship at Wisconsin, which means he would be a non-scholarship player next season before earning a scholarship for his last four seasons. But he received a scholarship offer from Utah when he returned home from the trip and will take an official visit there this weekend. He also has scholarship offers from Boise State, Cleveland State, Columbia, Denver, Loyola Marymount, North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota. Hedstrom visited Purdue (Sept. 8) and Boise State (Sept. 22) last month.
“Coach Gard thinks the opportunity there is unparalleled with the academics and basketball success,” Hedstrom told Evan Flood of Badger247.com. “He thinks it’s a great opportunity. He said, ‘I know I’m a little biased, but I think this is the best option for you. If you come here, work hard, the sky is the limit. That can really set you up for life.’ ”
Hemphill was surprisingly not offered a scholarship by Wisconsin on his official visit, and he told Flood he might let his senior season play out before making a college decision. Hemphill doesn’t have a high-major scholarship offer yet but has a bunch of offers from smaller programs.
“I definitely like Wisconsin a lot, but I don’t know if I’d jump on it right away,” Hemphill told Flood of a potential scholarship offer. “I’d think about it first before I made a decision.”
It’s unclear if the coaching staff intends to pivot in its recruiting. Gard recently watched 6-9 forward Ryan Davis (River Grove, Ill.), who has 18 scholarship offers from programs such as, Bucknell, Drake, Evansville, Hofstra, Kent State, Lehigh, Miami (Ohio), South Dakota, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan and Milwaukee.
In addition to Hedstrom and Hemphill, 2018 commit Tyler Herro took his official campus visit. Players in the 2020 class on campus for unofficial visits were forward Jalen Johnson (Sun Prairie, Wis.) and brothers Mason and Gabe Madsen (Rochester, Minn.). Herro and Johnson posed for a picture that Herro posted on Twitter.
— Tyler Herro (@raf_tyler) October 2, 2017
Highlights from 2018 commits
Running back Nakia Watson (Austin, Texas) continued a stellar start to his senior season. He rushed for 104 yards, which included a 76-yard touchdown run, in Austin Westlake’s 33-31 victory against Vandergrift. Watson also had 2 catches for 80 yards. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Vandergrift routinely stacked the box with seven or eight players to try to slow Watson. This season, Watson has 96 carries for 827 yards with 11 touchdowns in five games. He has 9 catches for 183 yards with 1 touchdown.
Quarterback Chase Wolf completed 17 of 29 passes for 149 yards with 2 touchdowns to guide St. Xavier (Ohio) to a 14-6 victory against Elder. St. Xavier is 6-0 this season, and Wolf has thrown for 1,094 yards with 12 touchdowns.
In other games involving Badgers commits, Jaylan Franklin threw a touchdown pass to help Gibraltar Carlson (Mich.) defeat Allen Park 28-21 to move to 6-0 and earn its first playoff berth since 2009. West Bloomfield (Mich.) defeated Oxford 57-27 and receiver A.J. Abbott caught 3 passes for 93 yards with 1 touchdown. Linebacker Jack Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Ill.) blocked a punt to set up his team’s final score in a 27-0 victory against Lake Forest.