Wisconsin Badgers recruiting report
For all the folks out there who didn’t know, Wisconsin plays House of Pain’s Jump Around during games to make 80,000 fans literally jump around. The tradition started in 1998 was temporarily suspended because party-pooping administrators at the university spread fibs about how dangerous it was – according to them the stadium wasn’t strong enough to handle it, but they were proven wrong. The tradition picked back up where it left off and Madison hasn’t stopped jumping around since.
When Paul Chryst took over the Badgers program in 2015 he hit the ground running better than any coach in recent memory. He went 10-3 and the only games he lost were against top 25 teams. But it’s worth pointing out that he won those 10 games with a team full of players recruited by the previous coaching staff.
Once he has the opportunity to build his own Badgers team and all the pieces fall into place – he’ll be in a strong position to win the Big 10. And considering how much Ohio State and Michigan invested in getting Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, they will lose their minds if Wisconsin takes over their conference.
The Badgers got commitments from every in-state player that was worth ranking by Rivals.com. 3 out of 4 of the in-state recruits are O-lineman – Kayden Lyles, Tyler Beach and Logan Bruss – and Jake Ferguson, a tight end who lives down the street in Madison. So they were basically born wearing a Wisconsin jersey and locking down all your in-state talent is a great start. But Wisconsin is so thin on talent they’ll have to recruit players from football hubs like Texas, California, and Florida if they want to win the Big 10 on a regular basis.
Two weeks ago all their work in Florida paid off with the Faion Hicks commitment. He’s a superb athlete that plays every position. He’s been taking over games on both sides of the ball since he made varsity as a Sophomore – his breakout game that season consisted of 8 tackles, 2 interceptions and over a 100 yards rushing.
Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL
Playing multiple roles for your team like linebacker, running back and kick returner is widely referred to as playing iron man. It used to be a common practice, but as the game evolved players were assigned to one position and they were expected to perfect that position as best as they could. But players like Jabrill Peppers and Faion Hicks makes things complicated – a great version of complicated, but complicated none-the-less.
Head coaches have to decide what role they’ll play on the team without putting too much pressure on them. Most iron man football players in the modern era never really play both sides of the ball in every game. They’re typically used sparingly where ever they can help, but maintain a primary focus on one position.
If a coach runs his most talented player into the ground, like Jim Mora did to Myles Jack by having him play linebacker and running back – they wind up blowing out a knee and instead of the head coach helping the player move on to the next level he’s jeopardizing his future in the NFL. Fortunately, Myles is on the Jacksonville Jaguars and seems to have recovered from his knee injury.
So, the question is – what position will Paul Chryst assign to Faion Hicks? Luckily, we had the opportunity to interview Mr. Hicks and heard from the man himself on what kind of plans the head coach has for him.
Q: Who’s your biggest influence when it comes to football?
A: “My biggest influence when it comes to football is my dad, he taught me the value of hard work and what I have to do to accomplish my goals”
Q: What made you choose Wisconsin over other schools?
A: “What made me choose Wisconsin over the other schools was the coaching, chance to compete right away and the education and atmosphere of the program”
Q: What’s your major going to be in at Wisconsin in the fall?
A: “I’m looking to major in business”
Q: Who’s your favorite football player of all-time?
A: “Patrick Peterson is my favorite player of all time”
Q: Which NFL team would you like to play for the most?
A: ” I’d love to play for my hometown team Miami Dolphins.”
The other big commitment was Jack Coan, who’s the 12th rank quarterback in the country. He’s a pro-style QB that will excel as long as he’s surround with the right amount of talent – and at this point, that doesn’t look like it’s going to be a problem.
Hometown: Sayville, NY
School: Sayville High
Rating: 4 stars
Wisconsin Jump Around image: By Royalbroil (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons