The Class of 2018 recruits for Wisconsin Badgers football has been finalized. 20 players throughout the country have signed their letter of intent to play for Paul Chryst at Wisconsin. Coming off an impressive Orange Bowl win and another Big Ten West division championship, the Badgers hope these commits will help bring a highly coveted National Championship to Madison very soon.
According to ESPN, the Badgers have the 39th best recruiting class. 24/7 sports gives the Badgers a slightly worse ranking, coming in at 43rd. However, these rankings don’t mean much as the coaching staff tends to bring out all of the potential in their recruits, look at Jonathan Taylor last year. He was considered to be a 3-star recruit but was recently a finalist for the Doak Walker awards, as a Freshman.
Let’s look at some of the best recruits who have committed to Wisconsin.
- Donte Burton – Cornerback (Loganville, GA)
“Clamp” Burton originally committed to North Carolina but decided to decommit for unknown reasons. He also had offers from other Big 10 schools like Purdue, Indiana, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Obviously, he signed with Wisconsin, and he will be a great addition to a stacked defense in Madison. Not only can he contribute on defense, he was a force in the return game in high school. The Badgers have lacked a return threat for years. Whenever Burton is on the field, the opportunity to return a kick for a touchdown is greatly increased. Obviously being a freshman means playing time is limited, but if his number is called, he can make an impact in any way necessary.
- Boyd Dietzen – Defensive End (Kimberly, WI)
Homegrown talent is always nice to add to your team. Dietzen was ranked as the number one recruit in Wisconsin for 2017, as well as a three-star recruit, per 24/7 Sports. He will be a great addition to an already elite defense in Madison. Dietzen is a tough, dependable option for the defensive line. Watching his highlights, Dietzen always seems to be near the ball, especially in the run game. He has great awareness for where the ball carrier is. That will prove to be a huge asset as the Big 10 is known for their stout running backs. He will be able to help shut down any run game. He also brings a winning attitude to the Badgers. During his four years at Kimberly High School, he never lost a game and led Kimberly to four State Championships. Overall, Dietzen’s signing won’t be talked about much, but he has the potential to be another hometown success story to come out of Wisconsin, a la the Watt Brothers.
- Nakia Watson – Running Back (Austin, TX)
Wisconsin is known as Running Back U, the Badgers have produced some of the best running backs in college football in recent memory. Names like Ron Dayne, James White, Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement, and the aforementioned Jonathan Taylor have all contributed in a huge way for the Badger teams of the past. Taylor will look to continue his success but the Badgers may have just signed Taylor’s successor. Nakia Watson, much like Taylor, wasn’t a highly sought out recruit. Wisconsin was the only Power 5 school to offer him a scholarship. Could Watson follow in similar footsteps as Taylor? If he isn’t redshirted his freshman year, I doubt Watson will see the field, except for garbage time. Taylor is clearly the lead back in Madison, but anything can happen.
- Michael Furtney – Offensive Tackle (Milan, MI)
Wisconsin has produced some of the best offensive linemen in the NFL today. Names like Joe Thomas, Travis Frederick, Robert Havenstein, and Kevin Zeitler all play huge roles in their offense and have a reputation for the best protectors in the game. Michael Furtney looks to continue that success as he chose to sign with one of the best to produce NFL caliber offensive linemen. He had offers from other Big 10 schools like Minnesota, Michigan St., Indiana, Nebraska, and Purdue. At 6’5 and 260 pounds, Furtney will need to bulk up quite a bit if he wants to play with the big boys. He will likely be redshirted to make that possible. Once he is able to hit the field, he will bring along great quickness and great power. He will be able to solidify a great offensive line as well.
- Rachad Wildgoose Jr. – Cornerback/Safety (Miami, FL)
Rachad signed with the Badgers on Signing Day. The three-star prospect played with some of the best in the country. Playing high school football in Miami means you get to play against three, four, and five-star talent on a week-to-week basis. Wildgoose, who also has the best name of the Badgers recruiting class, will be a key addition to an already stacked defense when his number is called. He can play almost anywhere in the secondary. Versatility is a huge asset for the Badgers who will look to continue their reign as one of the best defenses in the country.
- Jack Sanborn – Inside Linebacker (Lake Zurich, IL)
The only four-star recruit of the 2018 Badgers recruiting class, per 24/7 Sports, Sanborn was a standout at his high school that’s just outside of Chicago. He was named the Pioneer Press All-Area Football Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. He led his team to the Illinois State Championship game and was a force to be reckoned with during his time in Lake Zurich. He is without a doubt the best recruit that committed to Wisconsin, and he will be another defensive force for the Badgers in the future. A fun fact about Sanborn is he was coached by the same man who coached current Badgers defensive star, TJ Edwards. His coach sees the same traits in Sanborn that he saw in Edwards. That has to make Badgers fans extremely happy that Sanborn chose Wisconsin over other top schools in the Midwest. He had offers from many Big 10 teams including arch rivals, Minnesota and Iowa. When Sanborn steps onto the Camp Randall turf on Saturdays, you can expect one of the most productive players in college football.