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Wisconsin Football: Breaking Down the Badgers Newest DL Commit



Wisconsin Football - Jamel Howard
Photo: Courtesy of Jamel Howard's Instagram

Madison, Wis. — On national signing day, Luke Fickell and his coaching staff received some news from Jamel Howard they’ve been desperately waiting to hear since he became the head coach of the Wisconsin football program. 

Howard, a three-star nose tackle out of Chicago, Illinois, who was previously committed to UW and trending towards the Michigan Wolverines, announced in front of friends and family that he was (re)committing to the University of Wisconsin and joining the 2023 class.

The three-star nose tackle chose Wisconsin over offers from Illinois, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Iowa State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, and several others.

According to the 247Sports composite rankings, with Howard’s addition, Wisconsin football has the No. 58 recruiting class in the country and the No. 12 rated class in the Big Ten.

However, UW’s average recruiting score of 87.32 was the fifth highest in the conference, trailing only Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State.

What is Wisconsin Football Getting With Jamel Howard?

Jamel Howard’s fit with the Wisconsin football program isn’t worth speculating about — he’s coming in to play nose tackle at the next level. 

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive lineman finished his senior season with 53 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble, according to MaxPreps.

One thing that stands out with Howard, besides his size, is his strength; his ability to win with leverage and still show explosion. 

Some nose tackles are “leaners” who do nothing but occupy space and eat up blocks. Rest assured, Wisconsin football isn’t getting that from Howard. 

The three-star prospect moves well, is a good hand fighter, can occupy gaps, disrupt, and has upside as a pass-rusher who occasionally gets after the quarterback. 

Final Thoughts: 

Jamel Howard is a big recruiting win for Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football program. Although UW had inroads with Howard, it was an entirely different recruiting battle for his services the second time around. 

When he initially committed, Wisconsin was his best offer by far. Still, after programs evaluated him during his senior season, some big fish started circling, namely LSU, Michigan, Ole Miss, and Miami. All of which got him on campus for official visits. 

Coach Fickell and the new defensive line coach Greg Scruggs who most recently was an assistant with the Jets, stayed relentless in their pursuit and refused to be outworked. 

“The coaching staff was just very reassuring to me about what they needed me to come there and do,” Howard told Allen Trieu of 247Sports. “They said I was the guy they wanted. They kept saying that and making me feel that.”

Beating out an offer list featuring some heavy hitters is a victory in and of itself, but it also signals that Wisconsin football is getting ready to take the next step as a program on the recruiting trail.

Howard will provide some much-needed depth on the interior defensive line. With Keeanu Benton off to the NFL, Wisconsin football has only Gio Paez, Curt Neal, and Ben Barten returning at the position.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.