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Nonsensical Wisconsin Football Recruiting Ramblings Vol. 1

Inspired by Dillon Graff, here is my ramblings on the current state of recruiting for the Wisconsin football program.



Wisconsin Badgers Football Stadium: Camp Randall

I’ve been a massive fan of the Wisconsin football program for quite some time. I’m much younger than a lot of fans, so I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness the glory days of the Barry Alvarez era, but I have seen some fantastic teams and players come through UW in my lifetime.

While I was mostly a fan of the on-field product in my early fandom, the glamour of the recruiting space really caught my eye a few years ago. I’ve spent more time looking into prospects and reading message boards than I care to admit, but there’s just something about making a splash on the recruiting trail or watching a committed prospect rise up the ranks that’s so damn exciting.

Inspired by the nonsensical ramblings of Dillon Graff on the basketball program, I wanted to give myself a space where I could get all my thoughts out on recruiting, and there’s never been a better time to do so. 

It’s time we talk about Kyan Berry-Johnson

Look, I never want to be a guy who gasses up recruits solely because they’re committed to UW. However, I can’t express enough how underrated Kyan Berry-Johnson is.

According to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, Berry-Johnson is the No. 771 player in the nation, the No. 98 wide receiver, and the No. 18 player in Illinois.

I did a scouting report on Berry-Johnson earlier in the year, and his tape really flashed to me. This is a kid who can make short passes into big plays with his breakaway speed and elusiveness in space. Plus, he’s a physically gifted receiver who can get up and high-point the ball with ease. 

Although he typically plays in the slot, Berry-Johnson offers some versatility. There’s a pretty crowded field at the slot receiver position, but I could see him lining up on the outside and still being a huge difference-maker.

I firmly believe Berry-Johnson will be the biggest steal in the class when it’s all said and done. There’s so much upside in his game to pair with his athleticism and intangibles that could make him an absolute stud.

A look at the Wisconsin football running back class

Wisconsin’s 2024 class is chock-full of standout players, but you can’t find as much talent in the class as you do at the running back position.

UW currently holds commitments from Dilin Jones, Darrion Dupree, and Gideon Ituka. This set of tailbacks is extremely interesting because of how well they complement each other. With Dupree, you have an all-purpose back who does everything exceptionally well. With Jones, you get a tailback who’s tough to bring down with quick acceleration and elusiveness in space. And, of course, you have Ituka, who will thrive as a short-yardage tailback with his physical nature.

With Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi likely entering their final year with the Wisconsin football program, this trio of running backs will be a perfect fit. Of course, the most important thing is keeping this group together.

Some other schools have come knocking on Dupree’s door following the commitment by Dilin Jones, and the four-star prospect will keep the door open cracked open. While this may worry some, I don’t see UW in any immediate danger of losing Dupree. I see this as a kid wanting to see what else is out there. If he’s waiting for some powerhouses to come knocking, none of those programs would have a better situation in terms of playing time than there is at UW, and I think that’s what will retain Dupree’s commitment to Wisconsin.

This running back class could be something special. Each prospect has something that they do exceptionally well, and the pecking order will be something I will keep a close eye on when they get to campus.

Wisconsin football recruiting has never been this exciting

Admittedly, I haven’t followed recruiting closely as long as others have. However, I can’t think of a time that recruiting was this exciting.

Something this staff has done well is using social media to create intrigue in the recruiting space. I’ll admit I still get a little juice going when I see a bat signal drop, but how couldn’t you?

To be frank, Wisconsin isn’t landing these high-profile recruits if it weren’t for Fickell. His track record of success speaks for itself, but he’s also a remarkable talent developer. Hell, he had nine NFL draft picks on his Cincinnati team that made the College Football Playoff. 

Recruits are taking notice of what Fickell is building early on in Madison, and that bodes extremely well for the future of the program. Some of Wisconsin’s current commits have even done some campaigning of their own on the recruiting front. That speaks to the culture the new staff is building, and it’s pretty damn exciting. 

Wisconsin could secure a top 20 class when it’s all said and done. While that wouldn’t be the highest-rated class in program history, it’s a damn good jumping-off point for the staff. 

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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Five-Star Specialist Erik Schmidt Talks Recent Wisconsin Football Visit



Wisconsin Badgers Football left tackle Joe Thomas Hall of Fame
Photo: Courtesy of AMF Photos

The Wisconsin football program recently hosted several 2025 prospects during the Badgers win over Georgia Southern.

One of those prospects was Erik Schmidt, a touted kicker/punter out of Milwaukee. 

“I had a really good time,” Schmidt told BadgerNotes. “The atmosphere in Madison was great, and everybody was welcoming.”

Erik Schmidt Recaps Recent Wisconsin Football Visit

Per Kohl’s Kicking, Schmidt is a five-star specialist. The Marquette University High School standout is the No. 4 ranked kicker in the nation and the No. 1 punter. 

Wisconsin was the first school to extend an offer to Schmidt and remains his sole offer. However, he has been garnering some interest from other programs.

“Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State,” Schmidt said when asked what schools he’s hearing from at the moment. 

UW coaches Spencer Rymiszewski and Matt Mitchell have been Schmidt’s main points of contact following his scholarship offer. During his visit, he was able to catch up with the coaches and build relationships. 

“I’d say I have a close relationship with the staff. I talk to them multiple times a week.” Schmidt said. “We talked about how my football season is going.” 

It’s not just coaches who have been talking with Schmidt, however. Nathanial Vakos, the Wisconsin football program’s current placekicker, took some time to chat with Schmidt during his visit as well.

“I was able to talk with (Vakos) as well,” Schmidt told BadgerNotes. “We were just catching up because we were at a camp together this past summer.”

Wisconsin is reportedly near the top of Schmidt’s list, but he’s not in any rush to make a decision. He’s still looking to make his rounds and check out some other programs that have shown interest. 

“I’m going to visit Notre Dame and Michigan,” Schmidt said. “I’ll be back in Madison for the Ohio State game.”

That’s one of several standout prospects who will be in attendance for Wisconsin’s big primetime game against the Buckeyes. 

Luke Fickell and company are looking to have a scholarship kicker/punter in the 2025 class. If they are able to reel in one of the nation’s top kickers/punters, that will be a big win for the special teams group.

As it stands, Wisconsin football holds two commitments in the 2025 cycle from Remington Moss and Landyn Locke.

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Wisconsin Football: Badgers Expected to Land 2025 In-State Recruit



Wisconsin Badgers football coaches Luke Fickell and Mike Tressel
Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell (left) greets Wisconsin Badgers defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel after Fickell spoke to the media during Wisconsin Badgers football media day at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers Football program struggled to recruit America’s Dairyland in their first full cycle since taking over. That said, they’re hoping to change their fortunes in a deep group of 2025 in-state prospects.

Three-star linebacker Cooper Catalano from Germantown, Wisconsin, is arguably the top linebacker target on their board, and they have hosted him on several unofficial visits, most recently during the Badgers home game vs. Georgia Southern.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Catalano is ranked as the No. 470 player in the nation, the No. 43 linebacker, and the No. 6 player in Wisconsin. He currently holds offers from UW, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, and Minnesota.

His fit with Wisconsin football seems obvious, and after his latest trip to Madison, it appears that the recruiting insiders have a gut feeling about where he’ll call home.

Wisconsin Football is Trending for the In-State Linebacker 

Obviously, it’s still early in Cooper Catalano’s recruitment, but all signs point to the Wisconsin Badgers Football team keeping him home.

Badgers recruiting insiders Evan Flood of 247Sports and Jon McNamara of Rivals are in lockstep and have placed predictions for the 6-foot 200-pound linebacker to commit to Wisconsin.

As it stands, Wisconsin football has verbal commitments from quarterback Landyn Locke and defensive back Remington Moss, so it would be even sweeter to add an in-state product into the mix this early.

The Badgers coaching staff has injected some life into the program on the recruiting trail, and plenty of players want a seat at the table before the spots fill up.

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In-State EDGE Nicholas McCullough Recaps Wisconsin Football Visit



Wisconsin Badgers Football helmet
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Frey-AMF Photos. Follow @amfphotos2020 on Instagram to see more.

Fresh off of a win over top-ranked Mukwonago, Muskego High School standout Nicholas McCullough made a stop at Camp Randall to take in the Wisconsin Badgers football program’s victory over Georgia Southern, where the

“Great visit overall,” McCullough told BadgerNotes. “The atmosphere was amazing per usual. It was great to see coach Scruggs in action.”

Nicholas McCullough Recaps Recent Wisconsin Football Visit

During his visit, McCullough spent some time building his relationships with the coaching staff. He’s been in touch with a pair of UW coaches thus far as they continue to monitor the Muskego native.

“I have a good relationship with the staff. Coach Spalding is an awesome dude, and it’s always good to see him. Coach Scruggs is an amazing coach, and we keep in touch whenever we can.” McCullough explained. “I saw them pregame and just talked about how my season is going so far.”

The Muskego standout has had an impressive season thus far. The undefeated Warriors just took down Mukwonago and have wins over other programs such as Verona, Oak Creek, and Waukesha West. 

His film speaks for itself, as he’s put together quite a highlight reel through five games. 

Not only is McCullough a standout on the field, but he’s an excellent student. According to his Twitter bio, McCullough currently holds a 4.0 GPA. Some schools are taking notice of his excellent academics, including some Ivy League universities.

“Duke and Ivy League (schools) such as Princeton, Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth,” McCullough said when asked what other schools he’s hearing from. 

McCullough hasn’t picked up an offer from the Badgers yet, but he is planning on another Wisconsin football visit, among some other stops.

“I’m currently working out the details for Ivy League visits. I do plan on coming back to Madison,” McCullough explained.

McCullough has a long way to go in his recruitment, but he was impressed by Wisconsin. At the end of our talk, the junior linebacker discussed what the most important thing will be when he’s choosing a school. 

“Definitely the level of education. Wisconsin does a great job of having the best of both worlds. Great football team and a great education.”

As it stands, the Wisconsin football program holds two commitments in the 2025 class from Remington Moss and Landyn Locke

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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