This is an open letter to the No. 1 recruit in the University of Wisconsin football team’s class of 2022 and the No. 3 ranked offensive tackle in the class of 2022, an old teammate of mine, Joe Brunner.
Growing up playing football with your older brother Tommy, hard work was something expected of the Brunner’s. Tommy worked and worked to earn his way onto the Northern Illinois roster as a defensive end. Tommy dominated on the field every game and was a strong leader for the Whitefish Bay High School Blue Dukes. Now it’s your turn. Standing at 6 feet, 5 inches and 265 pounds, you are a force on the field. There’s a reason you have received offers from LSU, Notre Dame and Wisconsin — because you worked for it. While you still have a year to decide, I think the choice is obvious — stay home.
In the past decade, a Wisconsin offensive lineman was drafted in the NFL draft in seven of those years, according to Pro Football Reference. Out of the 12 Badger offensive lineman drafted in the last 10 years, none were ranked higher coming out of high school than you. That includes the likes of Travis Frederick, Rick Wagner, Kevin Zeitler and Ryan Ramczyk. You even scored higher out of high school than Badger alumnus and Cleveland Browns legend Joe Thomas (0.97 to 0.94), a future Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle.
By staying home, you would be attending a school notorious for producing great NFL offensive lineman prospects year in and year out.
By staying home, you would be joining the likes of Nolan Rucci (5-star recruit), JP Benzschawel (4-star recruit) and Riley Mahlman (4-star recruit), who are all offensive lineman and committed to Wisconsin in the class of 2021. These linemen are all versatile on the line and can play a variety of positions.
By staying home, you would get to play in Madison, Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 college town in the country. Joe, even ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt agrees with this sentiment, saying, “State Street, Camp Randall, The Kohl Center … I don’t know what’s better [than Madison.]”
By staying home, you would be a short drive from home. While that might not be the biggest selling point for you, your parents would be close enough to come to every game at Camp Randall, and you wouldn’t be too far from your brother playing for Northern Illinois.
So Joe, stay home, come build something great while donning the Wisconsin jersey and playing along with the likes of many NFL-level talented players. Come block for our future quarterback Graham Mertz and running back Jalen Berger. It just makes sense.
Good luck making your college decision — go Blue Dukes and go Badgers!