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Wisconsin Football: Early Evaluation of a Pivotal 2024 Class

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Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell
Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, left, talks with head coach Luke Fickell during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

On June 4th, the first wave of “bat signals” was sent out from Luke Fickell, indicating that the Wisconsin football program was getting hot on the recruiting trail.

The Badger faithful knows that these Jump Around-themed, 15-second hype videos mean that the new Wisconsin head coach has secured another commitment. Badger fans have grown accustomed to this phenomenon since Fickell’s introduction as Wisconsin’s new head coach on November 28th, 2022.

Following the firing of former head coach Paul Chryst, the Badgers have faced numerous transfer departures from current players and some de-commitments. This is typical fallout from any coaching turnover in college football.

To rectify this, Coach Fickell and his staff have hit the transfer portal hard. The new regime brought in multiple players from Fickell’s former Cincinnati team, along with a haul quarterback and receiving talent.

These commitments show that Fickell and staff are committed to ushering in a new identity centered around more air raid concepts (which new offensive coordinator Phil Longo is renowned for). The Badgers will likely move away from the pure ground-and-pound style to provide a more balanced attack to keep defenses honest.

Who are the new Wisconsin football commits?

The Badgers have (to date) secured five commitments in the 2024 class since the start of June, with more to come as official visits keep rolling in.

The first of these commitments came on June 4th, when Vernon Woodard III, a three-star cornerback from Florida, committed to the Badgers. Hank Weber, a three-star defensive lineman, was the next domino to fall on June 5th. Weber received his initial offer from former coach Paul Chryst. However, Fickell and his staff successfully finished the recruitment.

On June 6th, Fickell landed a pair of Pennsylvania offensive linemen. Those two prospects were Kevin Heywood, a 6-foot-7, 295-pound offensive tackle, and Ryan Cory, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound interior lineman. Heywood, a four-star recruit, chose to commit to the Badgers over powerhouses like Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, Michigan, and USC. Heywood represents the biggest win for Wisconsin among the June commitments to this date. Cory initially received an offer from Luke Fickell at Cincinnati. Still, the new Badgers head coach successfully lured the three-star lineman to Madison.

Wisconsin football continued their recruiting hot streak when they secured a commitment from Raphael Dunn five days later. The three-star safety from New Jersey boasts a towering 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame. Dunn was intrigued by Wisconsin’s “dollar package,” a 2-3-6 look where he can play safety instead of converting to linebacker.

What is the Wisconsin football program’s recruiting outlook for the class of 2024?

Due to de-commitments in the class of 2023 resulting from the departure of Chryst, the talent in the incoming class of freshmen is slightly lower than program expectations.

Transfers will help fill in these holes in the upcoming 2023 season. However, Fickell also needs to prove that he can set the Wisconsin football program up for success long-term, starting within the class of 2024.

These recent commitments bring Wisconsin to the #15 class in the country, per 247Sports. This reflects the foundation Fickell and his staff have built through the transfer portal and recruiting.

Badger fans are on the edge of their seats (or refreshing Twitter) for the next bat signal from coach Fickell, who is far from done with the class of 2024.


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