2 early-enrolled QBs, tailback from Texas, boost Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Paul Chryst didn't have much time to get comfortable when he returned home to coach Wisconsin.
The turnover at the top for the Badgers had Chryst and his staff scrambling to hold on to some recruits who had committed to previous coach Gary Andersen, while trying to woo new prospects to take a look at Wisconsin.
Chryst is happy with the 21-member scholarship class that signed Wednesday, a group that includes a holdover quarterback recruit and a new signal-caller that followed Chryst to the Midwest.
Austin Kafentzis, of Sandy, Utah, stayed with Wisconsin after weighing whether to join Andersen at Oregon State. Alex Hornibrook, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, had initially talked to Chryst while he was at Pittsburgh.
Now they're both early enrollees at Wisconsin, where Chryst has a track record of developing quarterbacks.
The last time Chryst was at Wisconsin, he was the offensive coordinator for the 2011 team that featured quarterback Russell Wilson.
''I think, actually that the two quarterbacks were kind of a microcosm of what our recruiting was this year,'' Chryst said of Kaftentzis and Hornibrook.
Kafentzis said he considered himself a pro-style passer with mobility. He holds Utah state prep quarterback career records with 13,079 yards passing and 6,942 yards rushing. Hornibrook last season had school records of 2,156 yards and 26 touchdowns at Malvern Prep.
''He said he can change his offense around the quarterback, but I definitely have to fit into it too,'' Hornibrook said.
Chryst said the short turnaround for recruiting - he had seven weeks between when he took the job and national letter-of-intent day - presented a ''unique situation in our recruiting with the time that we had.''
It was balanced, though, with Chryst's familiarity with Wisconsin and its recruiting pipeline from his previous stint with the Badgers, plus the efforts of holdovers from Andersen's staff who helped the Badgers land running back Jordan Stevenson, rated a four-star prospect by four recruiting services. Wisconsin is fairly thin on the running back depth chart, especially with star Melvin Gordon skipping his senior year to enter the NFL draft.
Early enrollee Jon Dietzen has a 6-foot-5, 330-pound frame that already looks ready-made for work in the trenches. Dietzen, of Black Creek, Wisconsin is the latest prospect in a long line of talented in-state offensive line recruits.
Top 25 Class: Rivals No. 37/Scout No. 34
Best in class: Jordan Stevenson, RB, Dallas
Best of the rest: Kyle Penniston, TE, Orange, Calif.
Late addition: Arrington Farrar, OLB, Atlanta
One that got away: Nate Howard, DE, St. Louis (Missouri)