Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Football: Reloading, not rebuilding: Hallman’s commitment adds to Badgers’ talented 2021 class

Following commitment of TJ Bollers just weeks earlier, cornerback Ricardo Hallman adds to already stacked 2021 recruiting class
Justin Mielke

The University of Wisconsin football team added another asset to their 2021 recruiting class, grabbing three-star cornerback Ricardo Hallman with his commitment June 23.

Hallman, a 6-foot-0-inch, 183-pound defensive back from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, chose Wisconsin over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Miami and Penn State. Hallman comes from a rich football lineage and is the stepson of future NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gore.

On the field, Hallman picked off opposing quarterbacks eight times during his 2019 season, collecting various accolades on the way. As a junior, Hallman was named First-Team All-State by Florida High School Football’s online website and First-Team All-County by the Sun Sentinel newspaper.


After Hallman’s commitment, Wisconsin’s 2021 class jumped to No. 12 nationally, according to 247 Sports. With five four-star commitments, the Badgers’ class is loaded with an array of talent, ranking ahead of SEC powers Georgia, Alabama and Auburn.

ESPN top-200 edge rusher TJ Bollers bolsters Wisconsin’s recruiting class

Per usual, Wisconsin’s class is led by a pair of skilled offensive linemen, as 6-foot-7-inch offensive tackles JP Benzschawel and Riley Mahlman both rank in 247’s Top 200.

According to recruiting analyst Allen Trieu, Benzschawel’s athleticism and basketball background will help him once he arrives at Madison. Trieu describes Benzschawel as being light on his feet with natural football movements.

Though Benzschawel must improve his strength, his athleticism and awareness give him a chance to follow in the paths of previous great Badger linemen.

Much like Benzschawel, Mahlman is an athletic offensive tackle with a basketball background. Hailing from Lakeville, Minnesota, Mahlman chose the Badgers over the in-state Gophers. A former tight end, Mahlman’s athleticism is a major asset for Head Coach Paul Chryst’s team.

Football: Looking ahead to Wisconsin’s 2020 season

Another four-star commitment in Wisconsin’s 2021 class is defensive end TJ Bollers. Bollers is a top recruit whose speed and ball skills are his greatest attributes. Bollers showcased his athleticism in last January’s National Combine in San Antonio, where he ran a notable 4.62 shuttle time.

Rounding out Wisconsin’s commitments in 247’s Top 200 is 6-foot-1-inch safety Hunter Wohler. Last fall, Wohler was named the 2019 AP State Player of the Year for Wisconsin, where he played for Muskego High School. Wohler chose the Badgers over Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame.

Wohler is an athletic safety who uses his ball skills to make heady plays on the ball. A mix of great size and speed, Wohler’s 4.61 40-yard dash time combined with his built 190-pound frame allows him to play in both coverage and inside the tackle box. Along with Bollers, Wohler’s commitment is a sign that Jim Leonhard’s defense will reload come 2021.

The final four-star commitment from Wisconsin’s 2021 class is tight end Jack Pugh. Pugh, a 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound senior from Hilliard, Ohio, is a natural pass catcher that has shown an ability to line up on the line and outside. With starting tight end Jake Ferguson graduating in 2021, Pugh has the potential to get reps early for Wisconsin.

Football: How Baun, Taylor fit into new homes following 2020 NFL Draft

Notable three-star recruits in Wisconsin’s class are pro-style quarterback Deacon Hill, running back Jackson Acker and inside linebacker Bryan Sanborn. Sanborn is the younger brother of current Badger linebacker Jack Sanborn, who was recently named to College Football News’ Preseason All-Big Ten team.

In total, Wisconsin has received 15 commitments in its 2021 class. Though Wisconsin has made a lot of noise in their 2021 class, commitments from other key targets in the coming months could skyrocket this class even closer to the top of the list.

Wisconsin remains in contention for offensive tackle Nolan Rucci. Rucci, the No. 15 player in the country, would be a colossal signing for the Badgers. A five-star recruit, Rucci has the potential to be a plug-and-play performer.

Another Badger target is Orange County defensive back, Robert Regan. In April, Regan listed Wisconsin in his final seven with Fresno State, Utah, Boise State, Arizona State, Oregon State and Kansas. A bit undersized, Regan makes up for his smaller frame with a 32.8 inch vertical according to 247 Sports.

Finally, the Badgers are still awaiting a decision from dynamic receiver Skyler Bell. Bell, a receiver from the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, decided to move back his original May 20 commitment date feeling that he needed more time.

Only time will tell if Wisconsin can continue to soar up the recruiting rankings, but it is without a doubt that Paul Chryst and Co. have done an excellent job recruiting the 2021 class. With these top prospects, the Badgers will continue to compete atop the always fierce Big Ten Conference in the near future.

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