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Wisconsin Football Misses on Another Big-Time In-State Recruit

Tough miss for the Wisconsin football team on the recruiting trail.



Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell argues with an official after a penalty during a game against Iowa on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Iowa won the game, 12-6.

Another recruiting season, another high-end Wisconsin football in-state recruiting target leaves for another program

This time, it was 2025 four-star tight end James Flanigan, a promising four-star recruit from the Green Bay area. Flanigan made a noteworthy choice by committing to the Irish over several prestigious programs, including Penn State, Stanford, and Wisconsin, among others.

Flanigan boasts an impressive national ranking, securing the 116th overall position among the country’s football prospects, as indicated by 247Sports. In addition to this standing, he holds the fifth spot among the nation’s top tight-end recruits and is the number one player in Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin Football Misses on Another Big In-State Product 

Luke Fickell and the new Wisconsin football regime haven’t gotten off to the best start on the recruiting front since taking over. However, one thing that helps ease the pain is that Flanigan’s family has a connection to Notre Dame. 

He is the son of former Notre Dame defensive lineman Jim Flanigan, who played for the Fighting Irish from 1990 to 1993. 

The journey to Flanigan’s commitment included a pivotal visit to Notre Dame’s campus. During the team’s 48-20 victory over USC, Flanigan had the opportunity to experience the electric atmosphere of a home game as a highly sought-after recruit. It was during this visit that he solidified his commitment to Notre Dame.

Standing tall at 6-foot-5 and weighing 226 pounds, Flanigan hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he attends Notre Dame Academy. Rivals ranks him as the seventh-best tight end and the 244th overall player in the 2025 recruiting class.

Not only is Flanigan’s commitment a testament to Notre Dame’s recruiting prowess, but it also highlights Wisconsin football and its continued in-state recruiting challenge. 

Losing out on a talented prospect from their own backyard to a storied program like Notre Dame serves as a reminder that success in college football recruiting extends beyond the gridiron. Wisconsin must continue to find ways to secure top in-state talent to strengthen its program. 

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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