Coaching Staff, Environment Lead 2021 CB Ricardo Hallman to Wisconsin
Last week, Ricardo Hallman jumped on a call with a significant amount of the Wisconsin coaching staff. He had good news.
"Coach (Bobby) April, Coach (Jim) Leonhard, Coach (Paul) Chryst, Coach Saeed (Khalif), all those guys and some other recruits," Hallman told AllBadgers.com on Monday morning about the attendees. "I think that was Wednesday night."
However, he tipped off the recruits earlier in the day prior to the chat.
"As soon as I told them, as soon as I said it in the Zoom call, everybody started going crazy," Hallman said. "Everybody started getting excited. Other recruits started screaming, 'Let's Go!'"
Fast forward to Monday afternoon, and Hallman -- a four-star recruit and No. 28 cornerback in the 2021 class by Rivals -- publicly announced his decision to commit to Wisconsin.
Hallman noted that if he would have had a list of top five schools, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Iowa State and Penn State would have made the cut. Those schools were also noted by 247Sports on Sunday.
According to the South Florida cornerback, however, a couple of factors played into committing to the Badgers.
That included learning from and being mentored by Leonhard, a 10-year NFL veteran who returned to his alma mater and is now Wisconsin's defensive coordinator.
"I'm just committing because of the the opportunity to play all the great coaching staff there," Hallman said. "I know on my side of the ball with Coach Leonhard being able to make it to the highest level, playing in the NFL for a good amount of time, I just know he's been where I want to be. So I knew if I could listen to him and be under him, he's going to give me the tools to be successful and hopefully make it to where I want to be."
"Also just the environment. I knew Wisconsin is one of the best college towns out there, and I've heard great things about Wisconsin. Just to get the overall college experience, just have a great time, have great football, have great fans, a great environment, just everything like that."
Hallman took a “virtual visit” with his mother, Vondricka, at the end of May. He stated it played a vital role in his decision with not being able to physically get to the UW campus.
"It really serves as kind of the next best thing because Wisconsin did a great job of putting me like I was actually there," Hallman said. "They explained everything very well and just made me feel like as if I was taking a visit myself in person. So I would say that played a big-time role because I wanted to see the campus, and obviously I couldn't see it in person so that was a great thing they presented me with."
Hallman confirmed he recorded eight interceptions for Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School as a junior in 2019. That helped him claim first-team all-state honors while also being named a first-team all-county selection by the South Florida Sun Sentinel and second-team all-county 5A-Ind. pick by the Miami Herald.
According to Hallman, Leonhard expects to play him "all over the secondary."
"I told him I have no problem on where he puts me," Hallman said. "I'm just ready to ball and help contribute in any way I can to the team."
Hallman is the 15th public commitment for Wisconsin in the 2021 class. Despite announcing his decision publicly on Monday, he has started to build a relationship with the other recruits.
"Actually after I got the offer, about a month or two later, Deacon Hill, the quarterback commit, he hit me up and just asked me how I was doing," Hallman said. "Then he added me to a Snapchat group chat. We all got into a group chat with other commits. Like I can't name all of them, but guys like Jack (Pugh), Darryl (Peterson), T.J. (Bollers), Deacon obviously, Mike Jarvis, Hunter, a bunch of the guys.
"It's been great building a relationship with them. We talk daily, and we're all coming from really different backgrounds and different places, but it's been great to bond with those guys. They all have the same mission in mind, just come into Wisconsin and getting Wisconsin better."