Wisconsin Football: Badgers' 2013 Recruiting Class Getting Defensive

Peter RaischContributor IIIJuly 6, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Bucky, mascot for the Wisconsin Badgers performs against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On Twitter, he goes by the name of BigBusiness_25, and he means serious business for the Wisconsin Badgers' 2013 recruiting class. When 4-star, Indiana defensive end Darius Latham committed to Wisconsin earlier this week, he represented a larger trend in Badger recruiting. 

Get bigger. Get faster. Get defensive. 

When it comes to defense, Wisconsin critics conjure up images of slow, plodding linemen working down the line and gasping for air as players like De'Anthony Thomas turn football games into track meets.

While 2011 was an incredible season for the Badgers, consistent play and consistent pressure from the defense were the deciding factors in a few close contests. Fans yearned for players in the mold of legendary ends like Erasmus James, and more recently, J.J. Watt. (To last year's squad's credit, the team registered more sacks than the year before, but not as much as 2009.)

Bret Bielema is trying to recapture those glory days with two 2013 commitments in Latham and fellow 4-star defensive end, Chikwe Obasih. To date, offensive commitments make up more than half the incoming 2013 class. There is not a single doubt though that Latham and Chikwe are the crown jewels of a solid group of recruits. 

Both players are excellent at moving laterally, adjusting to fakes and shifts with incredible determination in pursuit. What's more, the twosome will distract offensive linemen long enough to allow the Badger pipeline of up-and-coming linebackers free to cause chaos in the backfield.

One of those linebackers licking his chops is 2012 signee Vince Biegel. Biegel is a tall, strong outside linebacker who is also a member of the 4-star club. The combination of tough upfront play combined with the athleticism of a player like Biegel should give opponents fits. 

Latham and Chikwe's verbal pledges are music to fans' ears, but it's music that could come to a screeching halt. Former end Shelby Harris was sent packing in 2010, while the oft-injured David Gilbert is still awaiting a breakout season. Both players were 4-star prospects coming into college. 

For now, the Wisconsin recruiting board looks much more optimistic, and defensive.