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Badgers recruiting notebook: Busy start to June, NIL questions and Braelon Allen moving to RB
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UW FOOTBALL

Badgers recruiting notebook: Busy start to June, NIL questions and Braelon Allen moving to RB

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Acker and Hamm

Verona's Jackson Acker carries the ball as Sun Prairie's Isaac Hamm reaches for a tackle in the season-opening spring football game at Bank of Sun Prairie Stadium. Acker is a member of the Badgers' 2021 recruiting class and Hamm is one of the program's top targets for the 2022 class. 

After a dormant spring on the recruiting trail, things are set to heat up for the University of Wisconsin football program in June.

The NCAA’s nearly 14-month ban on in-person recruiting will end on June 1 and UW is set to host a bevy of recruits on official visits starting June 4. That group, which is up to at least 10 recruits from the 2022 class, includes a quartet of four-star, in-state prospects who have been the coaching staff’s focus for more than a year.

Offensive lineman Joe Brunner (Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay), Carson Hinzman (Hammond, Saint Croix Central) and Billy Schrauth (Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs) and defensive lineman Isaac Hamm (Sun Prairie) will be visiting UW next weekend, kicking off a busy month for these high-value targets.

A collection of the most interesting quotes and thoughts from Badgers players and coaches during spring practices.

Brunner is slated to visit Ohio State the following weekend and then Notre Dame on June 18, according to 247Sports. Hinzman is set to visit Ohio State, Notre Dame and Iowa over the last three weekends in June, while Schrauth also is visiting the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish over the third week of the month.

UW coach Paul Chryst said last month as spring practices wrapped up that having recruits on campus — an element of the process the Badgers have invested more time and money into over the past five years — is exciting.

“We’ve got a class that’s coming in in June and it’s been a long time since they’ve been on campus, and then we’ve got a couple that really haven’t been inside our facility,” Chryst said. “So you certainly have that component. But then guys that you’ve been recruiting and have a chance to have an official visit, or guys come in and unofficial, having them be able to come is big.”

Four-star running back Nicholas Singleton (Reading, Pennsylvania), a player with whom the Badgers have been gaining ground but will have to battle to land against Penn State, Notre Dame and Alabama, is being brought in next week.

The Badgers have one commitment in the 2022 recruiting class: Franklin quarterback Myles Burkett. UW is the only Big Ten Conference program without at least two commits.

Badgers coaches will also get to see prospects from a number of classes at camps in June. UW is putting on all-position showcases on June 3 and 7, and specialist camps on June 9 and 20.

Learning from virtual recruiting

Getting players on campus and having them experience UW with their own eyes had to be replaced by Zoom tours and other online methods when the in-person ban was in place.

Chryst said he and his staff learned some valuable lessons from recruiting during the pandemic, some of which will continue.

“For the longest time, you tried to get on the phone with guys, but now you can get on … in essence, you can make contact, but you can show ‘em (things), you can see each other,” Chryst said. “And so I think there’s a lot of those (tools) we used in this past year that you want to carry forward.”

NIL still unsolved

Getting firm details on how athletes will earn money for their name, image and likeness got even more challenging Thursday when members of Congress introduced a bill that would allow players to unionize and be considered employees of their schools.

The NCAA’s response to the bill was it would “directly undercut the purpose of college: earning a degree.” However, by asking Congress to make a nationwide infrastructure for NIL payments instead of creating one itself, the NCAA may not get what it wants.

Wisconsin’s legislature hasn’t yet proposed a bill on NIL, joining only Ohio as states without a bill working its way through the state system.

Even without knowing how it will work, Chryst said NIL discussions are ongoing with current players and recruits.

“Absolutely, it’s coming, and if done right, boy, it makes a lot of sense, right?” Chryst said. “And how do we do it the right way? And how do you do it in a way that the players can take advantage of it, but also not one, get distracted by it, or get in trouble because of it, right? The unintended consequences of it because ... this opens up a lot of other things.

“If you’re trying to take advantage, are going to take advantage or can take advantage of anything with name, image and likeness — whether you’re talking about taxes or whatever it may be, time spent, however that’s going to look — I think it’s a great opportunity that we will have with our current players and obviously it’s going to come up (in recruiting), because your recruits, you’re talking to them as if they’re going to be your current players. So I think definitely it’s (something) that you’ve got to (talk about), not as concerned about pinpointing the exact details of it, but absolutely the discussions, we have started them and that will continue to go this summer.”

Allen moving to tailback

After reclassifying to the 2021 class, another major change is coming for Fond du Lac’s Braelon Allen.

Allen, a four-star athlete who was believed to be best-suited as a linebacker or safety in college, will start at running back when he reports to UW. Rivals’ Jon McNamara broke the news Thursday.

Braelon Allen mug

Allen

Allen — an imposing 6-foot-2, 240-pounder whose workout videos show raw strength not often seen in a 17-year-old — was a force for Fond du Lac this spring. He was a unanimous AP first-team All-State player at running back and defensive back, and the unanimous state player of the year for the spring season. He had 1,047 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in seven games.

UW could use the help in the backfield, especially after a spring session in which players such as Julius Davis and Isaac Guerendo battled leg injuries and missed nearly all of the practices open to media. UW, which has three tailback recruits in the 2021 class, is reportedly in the running for Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi as well.


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