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Wisconsin Football Found a Secret Weapon on the Recruiting Trail



Wisconsin Badgers football stadium: Camp Randall
Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger prior to the game against the Washington State Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin football has been a rock-solid program for over three decades now, but athletic director Chris McIntosh had visions of something bigger when he hired Luke Fickell as the next head coach of the Badgers.

It’s no surprise that the first non-Power 5 head coach to reach the college football playoffs would be able to assemble an outstanding staff at the University of Wisconsin. But the early returns from this group have already exceeded offseason expectations. 

Outside of Phil Longo and Mike Tressel, who have already established themselves as assistants at the collegiate level, the Wisconsin football team struck gold on another offseason hiring that was a package deal from his previous stop at Cincinnati — and that same man might be the Badgers secret weapon on the recruiting trail. 

Colin Hitschler Has Been the Wisconsin Football Program’s, Recruiting Ace

Although a slightly lesser-known assistant coach when he joined the Wisconsin football team, Colin Hitschler was a priority hire for Luke Fickell. 

In January, Hitschler joined the Badgers coaching staff as the new safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator, following a successful stint as an assistant under head coach Luke Fickell at Cincinnati. 

He began as a quality control coach in 2018. Hitschler earned a promotion to safeties coach and, later, co-defensive coordinator — and On3 even listed him as a rising assistant to watch for the future. 

Since then, Hitschler has become a recruiting dynamo on the East Coast for Wisconsin. Thus far, he’s served as the primary recruiter for six of the 15 2024 commits — including four-star offensive tackle Kevin Heywood (PA), cornerback Omillio Agard (PA), and three-stars like safety Kahmir Prescott (PA), safety Raphael Dunn (NJ), IOL Ryan Corey (PA), and Gideon Ituka (MD).

“The tradition of success on the East Coast here [Wisconsin] and the ability to play for these fans and in this environment sells itself,” coach Hitschler told BadgerNotes.

I, for one, cannot wait to see how players like Hunter Wohler, Kamo’i Latu, and Austin Brown perform under his tutelage, and I hope that Wisconsin football can hold onto him long-term because his recruiting prowess out East is already opening important doors for the program from a talent acquisition standpoint. 

It won’t be long before Colin Hitschler’s stock is sky-high and moving on to bigger and better things — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the hell out of the time we have him. 

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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers Wisconsin football & basketball, plus a little Badgers recruiting for