With National Signing Day around the corner, message boards and forums are meticulously comparing notes on their prospective crop of high school seniors and junior college transfers.
It is naturally a day to ponder what the future will bring, whether stars will be born or busts will be exposed. But every year brings its own unique set of needs for every team. Rosters busting with tight ends look to bring in defensive backs, while quarterback-less teams forsake can't-miss defensive ends for stud signal-callers.
The 2012 Wisconsin Badgers have strengths and weaknesses just like their BCS brethren and use recruiting cycles much like the NFL uses the draft.
While some in the Dairy State bemoan the loss of so many stalwart players, Wisconsin can look on its future with a smile for a few key positions.
When Wisconsin looks into the running back depth chart, the names listed should run the length of the drawing board.
With Montee Ball returning for his senior year and James White chomping at the bit, Wisconsin has the quality. With five other running backs listed on the roster, the team also has the quantity.
It didn't seem to deter Vonte Jackson, who enrolled early and is already on campus at Wisconsin.
In fact, the logjam at this position is so bad, fans should be worried whether some players will seek transfers to get out from under the pile.
Wisconsin may not be known for speed and splash. The school does probably need more XXXL-sized uniforms than anyone else in the country though.
The Badgers have made their name on the national scene by churning out quality linemen who become anchors on NFL lines.
The offensive line unit will need to replace a few veterans, but the strength of the team will remain in the trenches with Travis Frederick and Ricky Wagner returning.
A slew of young linemen wait in the wings ready to pave the path for the next generation of Wisconsin touchdown machines. Three linemen are expected in the 2012 recruiting class.
The terrible twosome of Mike Taylor and Chris Borland were tackling machines in 2011, and 2012 could see the duo build on their prolific season.
As long as the two linebackers remain healthy, the third player on the rotation will have a great opportunity to apprentice firsthand.
Scout team all-star Marcus Trotter could provide the perfect complement to the tandem.
Everyone would like to see Wisconsin strengthen its line, but the weak links rest on the ends rather than the middle.
Beau Allen and the Badgers will be reaping the fruits of recent recruiting cycles that focused on bolstering the middle of line.
Philip Welch will be missed as a steady presence on special teams. The next pair of kickers should do well to follow in his footsteps.
Redshirt sophomore Alec Lerner actually started the year off as the starter as Welch recovered from an injury, and his experience will come in handy.
Kyle French was also in the mix as a freshman, and the position battle this spring should prove to be one of the stiffer competitions throughout camp.