A Look to the Future: An Early Glance at Wisconsin Football's 2011 Commits

Sam OlesonCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

TAMPA, FL -  JANUARY 1: Coach Bret Bielema of the Wisconsin Badgers disputes a call against the Tennessee Volunteers in the 2008 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  The Volunteers won 21 - 17. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

I know, I know. The 2010 season is still three months away. Why are you looking ahead to 2011?

Well, early summer may signal the end of school and the excitement of millions of kids about to descend upon their local parks and beaches, but in the world of college football there is only silence.

We are smack-dab in the middle of the early summer dead spot for college football. National Signing Day was a few months ago and summer practice doesn't start up for a while.

Sure, there are rumors of conference expansion, but until somebody actually does something, they are just that: rumors. I want something that has substance to it.

So, why not start thinking about 2011?

Recruiting-wise, no teams take breaks and Wisconsin is no exception.

The Badgers have already received verbal commitments from four players to be a part of their 2011 class and are undoubtedly searching for more at this very moment.

So, without further ado, here are the four players who have said they'll be in Madison for the 2011 season (as of June 9).


Eric Steffes, TE

The latest high school junior to commit, Eric Steffes is a two-star recruit out of Saint Mary's Springs High School in Fond Du Lac, WI who will look to play tight end for the Badgers.

And, at 6'5" and 225 pounds, while still running a 4.7 40-yard dash, Steffes certainly has the potential to be a force while blocking in the running game or hauling in passes down the field.

He could be the latest in a growing line of expectional Wisconsin tight ends.


Austin Maly, TE

The second of three tight ends who have already verbally committed to Wisconsin, Maly also stands at 6'5", but unlike Steffes, only weighs 200 pounds.

Although that may be a bit undersized to play tight end in the Badgers offensive system, Maly still has almost two years to put on some weight.

But Maly certainly shows promise as a pass-catching tight end. Last fall, playing for nearby Waunakee High School, Maly hauled in 24 passes for 527 yards and three touchdowns.


Sam Arneson, TE

Probably the most-talented player of the three tight ends, Sam Arneson could likely play on either side of the ball for the Badgers.

Arneson comes in at 6'3", 225 pounds, and has the ability to play both tight end and linebacker. At Merrill High School, he did both.

Last fall, Arneson not only caught 20 passes for 347 yards and five touchdowns, but also recorded 84 tackles and five sacks.

As of now, it looks like the Badgers want to use him on offense, but a lot can change in two years.


Jake Keefer, OLB

Rated by ESPN as the No. 31 outside linebacker in his class, Keefer (a Baldwin, WI native) chose to keep his talents in-state by heading to Wisconsin despite offers from Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Washington State.

And the Badgers are lucky he did. At 6'3", 210 pounds, Keefer has the perfect build to play outside linebacker in college, while also being quick enough to come up on the run, come off the edge on a blitz, or drop back into pass coverage.

He was an All-State selection last fall and the Badgers' first commit for the 2011 class.