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What is Wisconsin Football’s Recruiting Ceiling Under Luke Fickell?



Luke Fickell -- Wisconsin football head coach.
Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. – After an underwhelming 2022 campaign, Athletic Director Chris McIntosh went out and made the splash hire of the offseason – bringing in Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell to become the next head coach of the Wisconsin football program.

Since taking over, Fickell and his staff have been working overtime on the recruiting trail to re-tool this roster and provide a much-needed influx of talent at several key positions.

And the early returns have been promising, to say the least – landing a top 10 transfer portal class headlined by three talented QBs, a former top 10 WR, and a plug-and-play starting center.

Next, UW’s new regime salvaged the 2023 recruiting class that held just eight commits when they took over. In a short period of time, the Badgers landed several four-star prospects and brought two de-commits back into the fold that previously re-opened their recruitments.

“The same blueprint that they’ve had here is really what we built, I think, at Cincinnati and it’s been a philosophy,” Fickell told UW reporters. “I’m not saying you don’t have to continue to evolve, because you do. I think the big thing about us coming in here is we want to embrace and grasp all the incredible things that they’ve done and the way that which they’ve done them.”

Lastly, he and Phil Longo earned early commitments from 2024 four-star QB Mabrey Mettauer – the highest-rated TE in school history – and a promising in-state prospect – giving Wisconsin football a strong foundation to build its next cycle around.

Which begs the question, what is Wisconsin’s recruiting ceiling under Luke Fickell?

Luke Fickell’s Recruiting History at Cincinnati

Luke Fickell will forever be a legend at Cincinnati, considering his laundry list of accomplishments at the university.

In six seasons with the Bearcats, Fickell compiled a 57-18 overall record, winning two AAC Championships (2020, 2021), took UC to an NY6 bowl in 2020, and led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoffs in 2021, becoming the first Group of Five program to claim a CFP berth.

What helps make that even more impressive is that he accomplished those feats without a cupboard full of four and five-star recruits.

During the last five recruiting cycles, Fickell had an average class ranking of No. 48, according to the 247Sports composite. However, it is worth noting that in four of the five cycles, Cincinnati had the top recruiting class in the AAC.

Following their CFP appearance, the Bearcats had nine players selected in the 2022 NFL draft, which was third behind only LSU and Georgia that season. This class featured notable players such as Sauce Gardner, Alec Pierce, Bryan Cook, Desmond Riddler, and Myjai Sanders.

The former Buckeye acknowledged that his recruiting philosophy is about “getting the right ones” and trusting their eyes more than the recruiting rankings if they like the player and think they’d be a good systematic fit.

Between his recruiting track record and the emphasis on development through the weight room, we have no reason to believe Fickell and his staff won’t continue developing players into high-level contributors + NFL draft picks.

Wisconsin Football Recruiting Department

Wisconsin football had various problems in the recruiting department under the previous regime that needn’t be re-hashed. Instead, let’s appreciate that Luke Fickell brought over his lead recruiting heads, Pat Lambert and Max Steinecker, from Cincinnati.

The duo already has an established working relationship, a proven system, and, more importantly, a track record of success in their respective positions.

Lambert and Steinecker come from a department with only three staffers at Cincinnati. For reference, Wisconsin football had eight people in its department last season. So — it’s safe to assume they’ll have a few more helping hands at UW.

Now, Fickell’s new recruiting department with the Wisconsin Football program will have considerably more resources at their disposal—which, in theory, should allow them to build on what already works and take things to new heights.

Realistic Expectations for the Wisconsin Football Program

Luke Fickell and his coaching staff have given hope to the Badger faithful by putting together a top-10 transfer portal class and relentlessly pursuing several key targets.

They’ve also managed to market the Wisconsin football program in new and exciting ways – if nothing else, the new coaching staff has shown they’re more willing to get with the times and embrace the new CFB landscape.

Because of those things, and Phil Longo’s air raid offense, I absolutely expect the Badgers to improve in the recruiting rankings, but I want to temper expectations.

Fickell and his staff intend to build the program’s core within a 350-mile radius—a perfectly reasonable strategy. And while there are some prominent cities and hotbeds in those parameters, the quality of talent that comes from in-state will ultimately dictate “success” in the recruiting rankings.

Let’s Put a Number on It

Given the hard work that coach Fickell and his staff put in to build relationships with in-state programs, I have little to no doubt they’ll keep a fence around the state of Wisconsin – much like in the past.

Wisconsin football may even keep more of the blue-chippers home that snuck out in recent seasons. Because of that, I think UW can routinely produce top-30 classes each season, occasionally appearing in the top-15 when the in-state talent is ripe for the picking – falling behind Big Ten schools like Ohio State and Michigan.

I see no reason why UW can’t recruit on the same level or even surpass schools like Penn State, Nebraska, and Michigan State moving forward—as long as there is success on the field.

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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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Wisconsin Football Recruiting: Badgers Offer Trending 2025 TE



Wisconsin football tight end Clay Cundiff

Wisconsin football extended a scholarship offer to Da’Saahn Brame on Friday. The class of 2025 tight end prospect’s recruitment has heated up in the last couple of months. Although he has not yet received a rating from any of the major recruiting outlets, Brame’s athletic build suggests he will be a talented player at the next level.

Da’Saahn Brame Recruiting Profile

Brame, just a sophomore in high school, measures-in at six-foot-six-inches and 225 pounds. His long build gives him the ability to outstretch defenders with his extended catch radius. Although his blocking ability is still a work in progress from a technical aspect, Brame possesses the strength to outmatch many defenders.

The Derby, Kansas native has deep ties to the Kansas State Wildcats. His father, Da’Von, played defensive end for the Wildcats in 1996-2000. His mother, Nicky Ramage-Brame, played basketball at Kansas State during this same timeframe. In her senior year of high school, Nicky was Miss Kansas Basketball.

Da’Saahn Brame Highlight Reel

Brame has received ten FBS scholarship offers since January. All but one are from Power 5 schools. Brame’s other scholarship offers are from Michigan, Houston, Penn State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and UAB. Brame has an unofficial visit to Oklahoma scheduled for March 25th.

Wisconsin Football Recruiting: State of the 2025 Class

Wisconsin football has yet to secure a commitment in its 2025 recruiting class. The Badgers have extended scholarship offers to nine tight end prospects in the class.

RELATED: Wisconsin Football Is a Destination for Mettauer, Mordecai, Top QBs

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Wisconsin Football in the Drivers Seat for Another 2024 Recruit



Wisconsin football
Sep 22, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers helmets sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the UTEP Miners at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated UTEP 37-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. — Since taking over the Wisconsin football program, Luke Fickell and his coaching staff have injected some much-needed life into the Badgers, particularly on the recruiting front. 

As it stands, UW has the No. 24 ranked recruiting class in the country, currently holding commitments from four-stars Grat Stec (TE), Mabrey Mettauer (QB), and three-star tight end Rob Booker. 

Now it appears that things are quickly moving in the right direction with another 2024 prospect the Badgers coaching staff has had their eyes on. 

Wisconsin Football Picks Up Crystal Ball for 2024 OT

Earlier this week, 247Sports recruiting insider Evan Flood put in a crystal ball prediction on 2024 offensive tackle Marcus Harrison out of Hamburg, New York, to wind up with the Wisconsin football program. 

The 6-foot-8, 295-pound picked up a scholarship offer from UW back in February and has quickly made their way to the front of his list. 

Currently rated as a three-star prospect by the Rivals recruiting database, Harrison holds offers from Buffalo, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, West Virginia, and UW. 

You can watch his HUDL film here.

Harrison visited Madison last September under the previous coaching staff and intends to take an official visit to UW sometime in June — at which point I’d put the giant offensive tackle on commitment watch. 

“I would say Wisconsin is my number one, ” Harrison told 247Sports. “I love their style of play. They run the ball, run the ball. That’s what I want to do.”

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Wisconsin Football: Latest Recruiting Roundup



Wisconsin football

Wisconsin football recruiting roundup

It’s been a busy few days on the recruiting front for the Wisconsin football program. Badger Notes has you covered on all the latest offers as Wisconsin continues to truck along the recruiting trail.

Owen Strebig

The Badgers handed out an in-state offer to 2025 offensive tackle Owen Strebig.

Strebig, who attends Catholic Memorial in Waukesha, joins the long list of Big Ten teams to throw their hat in the ring for the Wisconsin native. Other conference opponents to offer the 6-foot-7, 285-pound lineman include Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue.

Strebig will visit Madison on March 30th as the Badgers attempt to bring in a young prospect who has recently picked up plenty of interest.

Ousmane Kromah

Wisconsin football offered 2025 running back Ousmane Kromah on Monday afternoon. The Georgia native took to Twitter to announce the offer.

Kromah holds offers from high-profile programs, including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Colorado. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound running back has elite speed and strength, making him one of the top options in the 2025 class. 

The Badgers are up against tough competition to land the young tailback, but they have thrown their hat in the ring.

Zy’Marion Lang

The Badgers dished out another offer on Monday, this time to 2024 wide receiver Zy’Marion Lang. 

A three-star recruit out of Florida, Lang holds ten division one offers, with notable offers from schools such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Indiana.

According to the 247Sports Composite, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound receiver is the No. 74 WR in the class and the No. 81 player in Florida.

The Badgers have offered plenty of receivers in the 2024 class, and Wisconsin looks to be one of Lang’s most attractive offers as it currently stands.

Marquise Davis

Versatile athlete Marquise Davis received an offer from Wisconsin on Monday and took to Twitter to announce the offer.

Davis, an Ohio native, currently holds 17 division one offers. Other Big Ten schools have offered the 2025 athlete, including Ohio State, Penn State, and Minnesota.

Davis plays running back and linebacker for Cleveland Heights high school. His versatility makes him an intriguing option, but he’ll likely play as a running back at the collegiate level.

With a long list of offers, the Badgers will have an uphill battle to secure the young athlete. 

Daniel Freitag

Finally, Wisconsin football’s most recent offer comes in 2024 WR Daniel Freitag.

If the name rings a bell, Freitag is one of Greg Gard’s top options in his 2024 recruiting class. Freitag is a two-sport athlete, playing point guard for Jefferson Senior High School basketball and wide receiver in football.

According to the 247Sports Composite, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound receiver is a three-star recruit. UW joins Notre Dame and Minnesota as the three schools offering Freitag in basketball and football.

Now with two offers on the table from UW, will Fickell land the two-sport athlete, or will Gard? Only time will tell.

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 news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

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