National Signing Day 2010: Wisconsin Recruiting Report Card

Sam OlesonCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  J.J. Watt #99 and Jay Valai #2 of the Wisconsin Badgers make a tackle on Brandon Saine #3 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Now that the chaos that is National Signing Day is over, it's time to calm down and just relish a moment of peace and quiet in the world of college football.

Just kidding.

Of course, now that National Signing Day is over, it's time to look over our team's recruiting class and scrutinize and judge it in every way possible.

Such is the life of college football. There's no such thing as rest and relaxation.

Here are my grades for Wisconsin's 2010 recruiting class.


Offense: B-plus

Although Wisconsin will barely use any of their incoming offensive recruits next year, they did pick up some players that will definitely help them down the road. None of them are the five-star phenoms that other top-notch programs around the country boast, but many of them are solid three-star players who will simply produce.

First of all, they picked up a quarterback, Joe Brennan, from Cherry Hill, NJ, a three-star player who, in a few years, may be Wisconsin's starting QB. Good start.

Wisconsin also picked up two running backs, Jeff Lewis and James White, who will gain great experience playing behind John Clay and Montee Ball. Both Lewis and White have the potential to be very productive backs in Wisconsin's system, although they won't have the chance for a while. Wisconsin has never had trouble attracting running backs, that's for sure.

The Badgers also picked up three big receivers that could possibly contribute as early as next year. Marquis Mason and Chase Hammond stand at 6'5" and 6'4", respectively, and would both make excellent red zone targets if they can develop their skills.

At tight end, both Sherard Cadogan and Manasseh Garner have the potential to be stars. Both Cadogan and Garner are very athletic, as evidenced by the fact that Wisconsin initially thought that either of them could be used on defense as well.

On the offensive line, the Badgers added a few big offensive linemen, including the massive (6'8", 340 pounds) Robby Havenstein.

None of their incoming recruits on offense are the All-Americans that other programs like Texas and Florida recruit, but they simply get the job done. Look at Wisconsin's 2009 roster. Only a few of their recruits were highly touted coming out of high school, yet they led the Badgers to the highest-scoring offense in the Big Ten and 10 wins.

Star rating isn't everything.


Defense: B-minus

Unlike on the offensive side of the ball, Wisconsin could definitely use some of their incoming recruits on defense next year. With three defensive leaders departing next year (O'Brien Schofield, Jaevery McFadden, and Chris Maragos), there are open slots, and it's anyone's guess as to who will fill them.

On the defensive line, the Badgers lose Schofield and senior Dan Moore to graduation. As the strongest part of their defense last year, Wisconsin needed to make sure that their performance up front wouldn't suffer with those two losses. Luckily, their incoming recruiting class is chock full of defensive linemen.

Leading the way is four-star tackle Beau Allen. Out of Minnetonka, Minnesota, Allen was viewed as one of the best players in Minnesota last year and will definitely be competing for one of the vacant spots next spring.

The Badgers also wooed Bryce Gilbert, viewed as one of the best defensive players in Wisconsin, into making the short trip from Brookfield to Madison. Both Gilbert and Allen could make an immediate impact next year.

At defensive end, Wisconsin has two recruits from within the state (Jake Irwin and Konrad Zagzebski) and one from Illinois (Warren Herring) who could compete for Schofield's spot. Zagzebski is the highest-rated of the three but may be a little undersized to play end at the college level.

At linebacker, Wisconsin has three recruits, all from Ohio, that could compete for McFadden's spot. Josh Harrison, the only middle linebacker in the group, will probably lead the push.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for...the secondary! Undoubtedly the weakest part of 2009's squad, the secondary needs all the help it can get.

Unfortunately, it's not going to come from this class.

The Badgers brought in two safety prospects, Frank Tamakloe and Michael Trotter, who will both be vying for Maragos' spot and should both be defensive contributors in the future. Both players have star potential. With Jay Valai as leader of the secondary next year, Wisconsin's safeties shouldn't be the problem.

It's the cornerbacks that need definite work.

However, Wisconsin only brought in one recruit, and that one recruit, Peniel Jean, is only rated as a two-star prospect. Now Jean could end up being great. It's much too early to judge. But with Wisconsin's troubles last year against the passing game, cornerbacks should have been their top priority in the offseason.

Of course, Wisconsin's current cornerbacks could drastically improve in the offseason and make my point moot, but I really doubt it. If Badger coaches could have recruited just one or two more cornerbacks, my grade for defense would have been drastically higher.

Overall Grade: B