Following the University of Wisconsin football team’s close Rose Bowl loss to Oregon, the team is looking ahead to next season and the new faces coming to Madison.
The 2020 Wisconsin football recruiting class is the strongest it has been since the 2001 season, ranking No. 25 in the country and No. 5 in the Big Ten. The recruiting class is led by the No. 1 and No. 2 offensive tackles in the state of Wisconsin, Trey Wedig and Jack Nelson, respectively.
The Badgers lost a decent amount of offensive line talent, including projected first-round pick Tyler Biadasz, through the draft and graduation. These losses will allow Nelson and Wedig to prove themselves early on.
Nelson is a 6-foot-7-inch, 273-pound lineman from Stoughton, Wisconsin who boasts a big, athletic frame for an offensive tackle. Nelson thrives primarily as a run blocker but should be able to continue to grow his pass-blocking skills as he transitions into the college game. Look for Nelson to be anchoring the Badger offensive line in no time.
Along with Nelson, the Badgers managed to recruit another great lineman in Wedig. Wedig is rated as a 96.4/100 on 247 Sports and ranks as the No. 7 offensive tackle nationally. At six-feet-eight-inches and 320 pounds, Wedig, like Nelson, has a large frame and excels as a run blocker. Wedig will need to develop as a pass blocker before he can dominate at the college level, but this shouldn’t be a problem with the offensive staff the program has put together.
Wedig is considered to be a multi-year starter with high NFL draft stock after his tenure in Madison.
Another 2020 recruit, running back Jalen Berger, might even love the offensive line additions more than the fans. Following the Under Armor All-America Game, Berger announced he would be taking his talents to Madison in the fall.
Berger will bring a much-needed spark to the Badgers offense following the departure of star running back Jonathan Taylor.
Berger held offers from over 31 schools, including Alabama, LSU and The Ohio State University, but chose Wisconsin because of its historic success with running backs such as Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Taylor, Corey Clement, James White and Montee Ball.
Berger has proved his effectiveness in both the running and passing game as he was a valuable receiver out of the backfield or even in the slot during his time at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. The transition for the six-foot-zero-inch, 205-pound back from the high school game to the collegiate level will be an interesting one to watch next season.
Berger will be coming into a program with talented veteran running backs including senior Garrett Groshek and sophomore Nakia Watson who proved to be effective this past season as a change of pace from Taylor.
Though he will be a true freshman, Berger will definitely be given a chance to make a significant impact on a team which will again be competing for a Big Ten Championship next season.
With the gaping hole at linebacker after the loss of seniors Zack Baun and Chris Orr, Head Coach Paul Chryst is bringing in Nick Herbig, an outside linebacker from Honolulu, Hawaii. Standing at six-feet-two-inches and 215 pounds, Herbig has a great frame for an outside linebacker, with great agility and athleticism for the position.
Wisconsin runs a 3-4 defense, giving linebackers more opportunities to make plays and wreak havoc in opposing backfields, which is where Herbig will thrive. Throughout his high school career, Herbig excelled in creating pressure in the backfield but will need to work on his pass-rushing moves in order to make a stronger impact with the Badgers.
Herbig has a similar ceiling to the great linebackers who have come before him, including T.J. Watt, Joe Schobert, Vince Biegel, Baun and Orr, which should bring excitement to Badger Nation.
Overall, this recruiting class is definitely something to look forward to as Coach Chryst is bringing in his best class to date.