Recruiting never stops in Badgers country, and we’re here to help put it all in perspective. Join us every Tuesday and Thursday night for a recap of Wisconsin recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.
2018 F Taylor Currie earns hoops offer
Wisconsin’s basketball program has been selective about which players it offers scholarships to in each recruiting class. So when the Badgers do extend an offer, it certainly is newsworthy. It’s even more newsworthy considering Wisconsin lost one of its top recruits in years when 2018 shooting guard Tyler Herro announced his de-commitment last week.
The latest player to earn an offer is 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward Taylor Currie (Clarkston, Mich.). Currie is a 3-star prospect and the No. 8 player in Michigan, according to the 247Sports composite. He received the offer while on a campus visit last weekend.
Blessed to announce that I have received an offer from the University of Wisconsin. I'm thankful to the staff for a great visit today!! pic.twitter.com/DDIEXoOpUP
— Taylor Currie (@_swaggyt33) October 21, 2017
Wisconsin has only one player committed in the 2018 recruiting class — center Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn.). Hedstrom accepted a 4-for-5 deal, which means he will be a walk-on next season before earning a scholarship in 2019. Herro had been committed to Wisconsin for more than a year before opting to reopen his recruitment.
The scholarship offer for Currie is not any type of quick reaction in the wake of the Herro news. Currie likely would have earned an offer no matter what because the Badgers have a scholarship open for 2018. He instantly became a top target for Wisconsin when he de-committed from Michigan on Sept. 29. Currie originally was a 2019 prospect but reclassified for the 2018 class upon committing to Michigan in June because he was ahead in his high school credits. He turned 17 in August.
According to his highlight video, Currie shot 54 percent from the field as a sophomore last season and averaged 8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Clarkston High finished 27-1 last season and won the Class A state championship in Michigan. Currie finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the title game.
Currie represents Wisconsin’s sixth scholarship offer in the 2018 class. Forward Joey Hauser committed to Marquette, forward Nate Laszewski committed to Notre Dame, and forward Isaiah Kelly committed to Yale. Herro was the only backcourt player offered a scholarship in the class.
Wisconsin will be in need of bigger bodies because the Badgers are set to lose five scholarship players in 2019: forwards Ethan Happ, Alex Illikainen, Charlie Thomas and Andy Van Vliet, as well as guard/forward Khalil Iverson.
Wisconsin doesn’t necessarily need a guard in its 2018 recruiting class, as the Badgers have built up depth at the position with Brevin Pritzl, D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Kobe King and Trevor Anderson.
Whether Currie accepts remains to be seen. But it’s certainly an attractive offer for a player who could become a big part of the Badgers’ future plans.
2018 S Reggie Pearson Jr. to enroll early
Safety Reggie Pearson Jr. (River Rouge, Mich.) was the first committed player in Wisconsin’s 2018 recruiting class back in August 2016. He isn’t wasting any time getting on campus.
Pearson tweeted that he had been admitted to school and will be in Madison in January, in time for spring practice.
— Reggie (@reggiepearson21) October 21, 2017
Badgers fans who aren’t familiar with Pearson will appreciate his work ethic. Pearson told me in July he had forged a strong bond with current Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon. The two talk on the phone regularly, and Pearson has eagerly learned tips from him about what to expect at Wisconsin.
Six days a week during the offseason, Pearson spent time at Performance 80 Fitness Studio, a workout facility frequented by some of the state’s best athletes. Founder and personal trainer Chris Huff told me several University of Michigan football players work out there, as well as Detroit Lions players Ameer Abdullah and Theo Reddick. Pearson worked out in the elite group and Abdullah, a former Big Ten standout at Nebraska, became a mentor to him during workouts.
“Basically at a young age, Reggie is learning how to be a professional and how to do everything the right way,” Huff said.
Pearson’s River Rouge team is 7-2. According to “The D Zone,” Pearson recorded 2 interceptions in each of his team’s last two regular-season games, against Elkhart (Ind.) Central and Muskegon Heights. That puts Pearson’s career interceptions mark at 21, which is tied for seventh in the Michigan High School Athletics Association record books.
Badgers commits on the field
St. Xavier (Ohio) lost its first game of the season, 28-14, to Cleveland St. Ignatius to snap a 14-game winning streak dating to last season. St. Xavier quarterback Chase Wolf completed 19 of 43 passes for 203 yards with 1 touchdown and added a rushing score. The Wisconsin commit was sacked 6 times and finished with minus-18 yards rushing. Bill Greene of Scout.com posted video highlights of Wolf to YouTube.
“This kid is a winner in every sense of the word, and his skill set translates perfectly to what Wisconsin wants to do offensively,” Greene wrote in his evaluation. “I would expect Wolf to redshirt next season, and then compete for playing time for the Badgers. In a game where he was hit early and often, Wolf never flinched and stood in there to deliver throw after throw as he attempted to lead his team back into the game.”
In other games involving Badgers commits, West Bloomfield (Mich.) won its seventh straight game with a 49-26 victory against Birmingham Groves. Badgers wide receiver commit Taj Mustapha broke a big play off a screen pass.
— The D Zone (@TheD_Zone) October 21, 2017
Aron Cruickshank’s Erasmus Hall (N.Y.) team defeated Tottenville 41-20. Cruickshank took a shotgun snap and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to his quarterback during the game. Cruickshank finished with a team-high 5 catches for 81 yards.
Jaylan Franklin helped his Gibraltar Carlson (Mich.) team finish the regular season 8-1 with a 42-15 victory against Lincoln Park. Franklin threw a 9-yard touchdown pass.
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