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Wisconsin Football Recruiting: 2023 Class In Review



Wisconsin badgers football

With National Signing Day in the rearview mirror, Wisconsin football has put a bow on its 2023 class. With 15 high school recruits and 13 transfers, head coach Luke Fickell capped his first 70 days on the job with a Signing Day surprise. Throughout those 70 days, however, is where Fickell created the core of this class. Between Fickell’s introductory press conference and National Signing Day, it became clear that this is no longer your father’s Wisconsin football.

Wisconsin Football’s Recruiting Identity Is Changed Forever

Recruiting football players to Madison has an entirely different ethos now. Putting the quality of prospects aside, this new coaching staff has put recruiting front and center. Landing blue-chip athletes felt like an enormous challenge for the Badgers in years past. In this class, Wisconsin signed three four-star prospects out of high school and four former four-stars out of the transfer portal. To top it all off, Fickell and Longo brought Mabrey Mettauer, another four-star quarterback, into the 2024 class. 

These results do not come without putting in the work. Each commitment now comes with a carefully timed announcement. On visits, the staff woos recruits with exciting entrances to the football facilities, hype videos, and impressively edited graphics. Recruiting at Wisconsin is choreographed now in a way that was lacking in years past. While some aspects may seem flashy, those bells and whistles attract recruits. It may be a departure from the ho-hum nature Badger fans are used to; it is hard to question the results to date.

Wisconsin Football Can Go Toe-to-Toe With Anyone

Wisconsin football sought high-level talent in this class. Fickell wanted more than just taking what might have been left over. Regardless of star ratings, the level of athletes Wisconsin has recruited under Fickell is evident based on what other schools the Badgers battled on the recruiting trail.

  • Amare Snowden is a cornerback from Michigan. Snowden originally committed to Cincinnati over schools, including Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin. After decommitting from Cincy, Snowden received an offer to play for Deion Sanders at Colorado before he chose to follow Fickell to UW.
  • Jamel Howard is a defensive tackle from Illinois. After initially committing to Wisconsin, he re-opened his recruitment, and experts widely expected him to commit to Michigan. Howard visited Michigan, LSU, Ole Miss, and Miami, but Fickell brought him back into the class on National Signing Day.
  • CJ Williams is a wide receiver transferring from USC. In high school, Williams had offers from any school you could think of, including Auburn, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame.
  • Tanner Mordecai will presumably be Wisconsin’s starting quarterback next season. A graduate transfer, he recorded 72 total passing touchdowns in his two seasons at SMU. Mordecai would have been a hot commodity on the open market, but he immediately committed to Wisconsin upon entering the transfer portal.

Wisconsin Football Roster: What Changes Are Still To Come?

With Wisconsin football’s incoming recruiting class, the Badgers project to have 89 players on scholarship. Teams have a scholarship cap of 85, so at least four players will be departing. The next window for players to enter the transfer portal is May 1st – 15th. After spring practice, who may choose to exit the program will be more apparent.

Fickell, impressively, kept most of the Badgers’ roster together. Only nine players transferred out following his hiring. For so many players to at least give the new regime, a chance during spring practice speaks to his ability to sell his vision for the Wisconsin football program.

There have been plenty of exciting additions to the roster for Wisconsin football. However, stay tuned to BadgerNotes over the next few months because there will be more roster turnover this spring.

Read More: Wisconsin Football Is a Destination for Mettauer, Mordecai, Top Quarterbacks

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Five-Star Specialist Erik Schmidt Talks Recent Wisconsin Football Visit



Wisconsin Badgers Football left tackle Joe Thomas Hall of Fame
Photo: Courtesy of AMF Photos

The Wisconsin football program recently hosted several 2025 prospects during the Badgers win over Georgia Southern.

One of those prospects was Erik Schmidt, a touted kicker/punter out of Milwaukee. 

“I had a really good time,” Schmidt told BadgerNotes. “The atmosphere in Madison was great, and everybody was welcoming.”

Erik Schmidt Recaps Recent Wisconsin Football Visit

Per Kohl’s Kicking, Schmidt is a five-star specialist. The Marquette University High School standout is the No. 4 ranked kicker in the nation and the No. 1 punter. 

Wisconsin was the first school to extend an offer to Schmidt and remains his sole offer. However, he has been garnering some interest from other programs.

“Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State,” Schmidt said when asked what schools he’s hearing from at the moment. 

UW coaches Spencer Rymiszewski and Matt Mitchell have been Schmidt’s main points of contact following his scholarship offer. During his visit, he was able to catch up with the coaches and build relationships. 

“I’d say I have a close relationship with the staff. I talk to them multiple times a week.” Schmidt said. “We talked about how my football season is going.” 

It’s not just coaches who have been talking with Schmidt, however. Nathanial Vakos, the Wisconsin football program’s current placekicker, took some time to chat with Schmidt during his visit as well.

“I was able to talk with (Vakos) as well,” Schmidt told BadgerNotes. “We were just catching up because we were at a camp together this past summer.”

Wisconsin is reportedly near the top of Schmidt’s list, but he’s not in any rush to make a decision. He’s still looking to make his rounds and check out some other programs that have shown interest. 

“I’m going to visit Notre Dame and Michigan,” Schmidt said. “I’ll be back in Madison for the Ohio State game.”

That’s one of several standout prospects who will be in attendance for Wisconsin’s big primetime game against the Buckeyes. 

Luke Fickell and company are looking to have a scholarship kicker/punter in the 2025 class. If they are able to reel in one of the nation’s top kickers/punters, that will be a big win for the special teams group.

As it stands, Wisconsin football holds two commitments in the 2025 cycle from Remington Moss and Landyn Locke.

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Wisconsin Football: Badgers Expected to Land 2025 In-State Recruit



Wisconsin Badgers football coaches Luke Fickell and Mike Tressel
Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell (left) greets Wisconsin Badgers defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel after Fickell spoke to the media during Wisconsin Badgers football media day at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers Football program struggled to recruit America’s Dairyland in their first full cycle since taking over. That said, they’re hoping to change their fortunes in a deep group of 2025 in-state prospects.

Three-star linebacker Cooper Catalano from Germantown, Wisconsin, is arguably the top linebacker target on their board, and they have hosted him on several unofficial visits, most recently during the Badgers home game vs. Georgia Southern.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Catalano is ranked as the No. 470 player in the nation, the No. 43 linebacker, and the No. 6 player in Wisconsin. He currently holds offers from UW, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, and Minnesota.

His fit with Wisconsin football seems obvious, and after his latest trip to Madison, it appears that the recruiting insiders have a gut feeling about where he’ll call home.

Wisconsin Football is Trending for the In-State Linebacker 

Obviously, it’s still early in Cooper Catalano’s recruitment, but all signs point to the Wisconsin Badgers Football team keeping him home.

Badgers recruiting insiders Evan Flood of 247Sports and Jon McNamara of Rivals are in lockstep and have placed predictions for the 6-foot 200-pound linebacker to commit to Wisconsin.

As it stands, Wisconsin football has verbal commitments from quarterback Landyn Locke and defensive back Remington Moss, so it would be even sweeter to add an in-state product into the mix this early.

The Badgers coaching staff has injected some life into the program on the recruiting trail, and plenty of players want a seat at the table before the spots fill up.

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In-State EDGE Nicholas McCullough Recaps Wisconsin Football Visit



Wisconsin Badgers Football helmet
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Frey-AMF Photos. Follow @amfphotos2020 on Instagram to see more.

Fresh off of a win over top-ranked Mukwonago, Muskego High School standout Nicholas McCullough made a stop at Camp Randall to take in the Wisconsin Badgers football program’s victory over Georgia Southern, where the

“Great visit overall,” McCullough told BadgerNotes. “The atmosphere was amazing per usual. It was great to see coach Scruggs in action.”

Nicholas McCullough Recaps Recent Wisconsin Football Visit

During his visit, McCullough spent some time building his relationships with the coaching staff. He’s been in touch with a pair of UW coaches thus far as they continue to monitor the Muskego native.

“I have a good relationship with the staff. Coach Spalding is an awesome dude, and it’s always good to see him. Coach Scruggs is an amazing coach, and we keep in touch whenever we can.” McCullough explained. “I saw them pregame and just talked about how my season is going so far.”

The Muskego standout has had an impressive season thus far. The undefeated Warriors just took down Mukwonago and have wins over other programs such as Verona, Oak Creek, and Waukesha West. 

His film speaks for itself, as he’s put together quite a highlight reel through five games. 

Not only is McCullough a standout on the field, but he’s an excellent student. According to his Twitter bio, McCullough currently holds a 4.0 GPA. Some schools are taking notice of his excellent academics, including some Ivy League universities.

“Duke and Ivy League (schools) such as Princeton, Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth,” McCullough said when asked what other schools he’s hearing from. 

McCullough hasn’t picked up an offer from the Badgers yet, but he is planning on another Wisconsin football visit, among some other stops.

“I’m currently working out the details for Ivy League visits. I do plan on coming back to Madison,” McCullough explained.

McCullough has a long way to go in his recruitment, but he was impressed by Wisconsin. At the end of our talk, the junior linebacker discussed what the most important thing will be when he’s choosing a school. 

“Definitely the level of education. Wisconsin does a great job of having the best of both worlds. Great football team and a great education.”

As it stands, the Wisconsin football program holds two commitments in the 2025 class from Remington Moss and Landyn Locke

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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