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Wisconsin Football News: Badgers LB Enters Portal, In-State Recruiting Misses, More



Wisconsin Badgers head football coach Luke Fickell
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell chats with an official during The Launch, the Badger football team's intrasquad scrimmage at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. on Saturday April 22, 2023.

It’s been a busy couple of days for the Wisconsin football program, ladies and gents, but fear not because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important news you may have missed.

Wisconsin Badgers Lose Linebacker to Transfer Portal

The Wisconsin football program lost its second player during spring practice when senior linebacker Spencer Lytle announced he was entering the transfer portal.

“My time at Wisconsin has been great, but after a lot of thought, I have realized it’s time to move on,” Lytle wrote in a social media post. “That being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer with 2 years of eligibility left.”

Lytle, a fifth-year senior, was a former four-star recruit who appeared in just 15 games during his career with the Badgers. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound LB was a huge recruiting win but battled injuries and never quite found his footing, bouncing back and forth between inside and outside linebacker.

The California native registered seven tackles with UW and will look for a fresh start, like former teammate Julius Davis who entered the portal last week. He’s already reported offers from Liberty, Ohio, and Miami (OH).

Several others are sure to follow, considering the Wisconsin football program is currently over the scholarship limit.

Wisconsin Football Misses on Several 2024 In-State Recruits

Wisconsin has traditionally done an excellent job of keeping the “wall” around the state in terms of turning in-state kids into Badgers. It helps that they’re the only FBS school in the state, but I digress. 

UW has signed the No. 1 player in Wisconsin every season dating back to 2017 — every season until now. It’s also worth mentioning that the Badgers secured seven of the 10 four-star recruits, according to the 247Sports composite, during that stretch.  

That said, it stings when a talented four-star kid like Donovan Harbour leaves for another Big Ten school like Penn State. And it stings a little more when the No. 2 player Corey Smith appears to be headed there to join Harbour and new Nittany Lion commit Garrett Sexton, who Wisconsin football didn’t offer until a week ago

Even Sam Pilof, the state No. 4 player, committed to Rutgers, but we won’t even discuss why that happened. 

All I ask is that fans understand the sky isn’t falling. Luke Fickell and his coaching staff came in, did their evaluations, and decided which kids they intended to prioritize. Given their track record of success, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt. 

Also, consider how good of a job they’ve done constructing the 2024 recruiting class, which currently ranked No. 21 in the country.

No matter what you do, sometimes a kid just doesn’t want to play for the Wisconsin football program. It’s ok–the Badgers will be just fine.

Other Wisconsin Football News

This past weekend, 2024 three-star running back Gideon Ituka, out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, took his first unofficial visit to Madison to watch “The Launch.”

“They’ve had a lot of great running backs play there who won Heisman awards and have taken home a lot of trophies. Being part of that culture is a great opportunity for me,” Ituka told 

According to the 247Sports composite rankings, he is the No. 73 RB in the 2024 recruiting class and the No. 24 player in Maryland. 

The 5-foot-10, 225-pound tailback, who ran for 1,106 yards and 16 touchdowns as a Junior, holds offers from Boston College, Liberty, Maryland, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Toledo, and several other schools. 

From what I’ve heard, Ituka is high on the board of running back targets for the Wisconsin football program as a change-of-pace bruising option behind the speed backs they’re also recruiting. 

He’s planning on taking an official visit to Wisconsin later this summer. I like where the Badgers currently sit. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, 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's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.