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Wisconsin Football Gets Some Disappointing News on the Recruiting Trail

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Photo: Via Dillon Graff

The University of Wisconsin football program has recently been dealt a couple of blows on the recruiting trail with the commitments of two highly sought-after prospects committing elsewhere.

Wisconsin football bounced back from the de-commitments of tight end Robert Booker (UCLA) and cornerback Vernon Woodward (Illinois). The Badgers earned verbal commitments from four-star prospects, offensive lineman Emerson Mandell, cornerback Omillio Agard, and running back Darrion Dupree.

However, some of their top remaining 2024 recruiting targets, both of which took official visits to Madison — made their choices this weekend and chose elsewhere.

Four-star defensive end Benedict Umeh has chosen to commit to Stanford, while four-star safety Kaj Sanders has decided to play for Rutgers. These decisions mark a disappointing setback for the Badgers, who had high hopes of adding these talents to their roster.

Wisconsin Badgers Miss on 4-Star DE Benedict Umeh

Wisconsin football had spent considerable time and effort recruiting Benedict Umeh, a highly regarded defensive end with exceptional athleticism. He was considered a priority target for the UW staff.

According to the 247Sports Composite, Umeh is the No. 81 player in the nation, the No. 12 DL, and the No. 1 player in Connecticut.

He chose Stanford over offers from Stanford, Penn State, Duke, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Iowa, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Wisconsin, and countless other schools.

Missing on Umeh leaves a void that Wisconsin still needs to fill on its defensive line in the 2024 recruiting cycle and will now have to reassess its board and search for alternative options to fill this critical position.

Where Does Wisconsin Football Go After Kaj Sanders Committing to Rutgers? 

Another blow for Wisconsin football recruiting efforts came with the commitment of Kai Sanders to Rutgers. 

Sanders, a four-star safety with exceptional instincts and ball skills, was highly sought after by multiple programs and took an official to Madison on May 30. Wisconsin had hoped to secure his commitment to strengthen their secondary class and enhance an already impressive safety room. 

His decision to choose Rutgers over Wisconsin is undoubtedly a setback for the Badgers — but not a surprise considering the No. 35 S decided to play for his hometown team. 

All eyes now turn to three-star defensive back Xavier Lucas — who Wisconsin football is in a decent position with. 

Wisconsin Football Program Has No Choice but to Move Forward

While losing out on talented recruits is disheartening for any program, Wisconsin football must adapt and move forward. 

The Badgers boast a strong coaching staff and a proven track record of success — that’s why they currently have the nation’s No. 21 recruiting class. 

Already holding 17 commits in the 2024 cycle, UW will need to intensify its efforts to identify and recruit other talented prospects who can contribute to the team’s success in place of the candidates they missed on.


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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, BadgerNotes.com correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers trending Wisconsin football and basketball social media topics.

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