This is the biggest non game-day on the College Football calendar. I fully understand it…and to that point, I put very little stock in it. Wisconsin is not “on the list” for the nation’s top-150 recruits. They very seldom are. Yet-checkout the resume for Wisconsin Football in the past 10-seasons: a winning percentage of 74%(96-34), and 3-B1G titles (Rose Bowls). The formula at Wisconsin works, and has worked since Barry Alvarez arrived 25-years ago. Occasionally, Wisconsin will land a top-150 recruit, by my count, 7-players in the last 8-years. Of that group, only one is playing in the NFL.
Here’s another informal list I’ve put together of Wisconsin’s most successful Football players in recent years—the player and their national rank according to ESPN: Chris Borland—NR Jared Abbrederis— NR Ryan Groy—#77 James White— NR Melvin Gordon—NR Travis Frederick—NR Russell Wilson—NR JJ Watt—NR Rick Wagner—NR Nick Toon—NR Garrett Graham—NR Peter Konz—NR Montee Ball—NR Gabe Carimi—NR
Nine of those players are in the NFL, 5-more will be. Only one of those players was a top-150 recruit. One just won a Super Bowl, another was the NFL’s Defensive player of the year, and another owns the record for the most Touchdowns in College Football history.
Don’t get me wrong, today is an incredibly important day for College Football, and your teams’ future opportunity for success. Wisconsin’s class is ranked anywhere from the mid 20’s to the mid 30’s. It may be, that Wisconsin moves into top-25 circles in years to come. However, it’s not exactly a reliable predictor for success. So, before you get freaked out by not being a top-25 class…one final note—Michigan has had a top-15 ranked class in 7-of-8 years…they’ve won 61-games in that time and are just 34-30 in the B1G. Wisconsin has not had a single top-25 class in the same time span…the Badgers have won 79-games and are 43-21 in the B1G including 3-B1G titles.
How important is the recruiting rank? Maybe not as important as it’s made out to be…today.