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Wisconsin football 2023 recruiting: June status report (defense)

A look at where the Badgers stand at each position in the 2023 recruiting class on defense with June official visits complete.
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After the Wisconsin Badgers added five commitments in May and six more in the month of June so far, it is time to revisit where the football team is at in the 2023 recruiting class.

With June official visits complete, let's break down where Wisconsin stands at each defense position in the 2023 class and which prospects could still be in play for the Badgers this summer.

You can check out the offensive version from yesterday, here. 

Defensive line

Current commits:

Top targets:

The breakdown: The Badgers have a great start along the defensive line in the 2023 recruiting class with two commitments, both of which hail from Chicago. Defensive end Roderick Pierce is incredibly versatile and can play anywhere along the line, while Jamel Howard is a true nose tackle at 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds.

With multiple seniors on the roster, I could see the Badgers going a couple of different routes from here. I would not be shocked to see defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej shut things down with two players in the class, but I could also see a couple of new offers come out later this summer or in the fall in hopes of adding a third player to the position room.

After missing on Ashton Sanders and Tyler Gant, My'Kiel Gardner is the only player that Wisconsin is after of late. The Badgers hosted him on an official visit earlier this month, but Michigan, and others, appear ahead at this time. I think this is another position room where the staff has some flexibility, and do not necessarily have to get a certain number of players, but would happily add another player if the opportunity presents itself because of available scholarships. 

Outside linebacker

Current commits:

Top targets:

The breakdown: Wisconsin is in about as good of a position at outside linebacker in the 2023 recruiting class as you could hope for heading into July.

Three-star pass-rusher Jordan Mayer is already in the fold after committing to the Badgers following an official visit to Madison this month, and Mayer has a ton of upside given his athleticism and tenacity off the edge.

With a deep group of talent already on the roster at the position, assistant coach Bobby April can now swing for the fences and focus all of his attention on the top recruit in the entire class, Tackett Curtis, out of Louisiana.

Curtis has a top-3 of Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin, and he recently wrapped up official visits to each school this month. Coach April and the Badgers have arguably put in the most effort here, with April racking up frequently flyer miles to visit him more than any other coach. This is a recruitment that feels like Wisconsin should win, but you never can rule out Ohio State or USC when it comes to blue-chip recruits. If Bobby April can land Curtis, the perception of the entire 2023 class improves, Curtis is that good, and he a perfect system fit as an outside linebacker. 

Inside linebacker

Current commits:

Top targets: The Badgers appear set with Tyler Jansey as the lone inside linebacker for now.

The breakdown: Wisconsin landed a commitment from Illinois linebacker Tyler Jansey back in January, and that will probably conclude inside linebacker recruiting in 2023. The Badgers were an early offer for Jansey, and the staff is high on what he will bring to the position group. 

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Cornerback

Current commits:

Top targets:

  • Braeden Marshall

The breakdown: The Wisconsin Badgers might be done at cornerback in the 2023 cycle after landing commitments from Jace Arnold and A.J. Tisdell.

Arnold is currently the highest ranked player in the class according to the 247 Sports Composite and is a tremendously fast cornerback out of Georgia. Tisdell can do a bit of everything and fits the versatile mold of defensive backs that Hank Poteat and Jim Leonhard targeted the past few recruiting classes.

I really like this pairing and think the two players complement each other well. Tisdell recently added an offer from Kansas State since his commitment, so his status will need to be monitored if he continues to accumulate offers, but overall, two cornerbacks might be enough for the Badgers in 2023.

Braeden Marshall recently took an official visit to North Carolina, and he appears to be looking to stay in the Southeast for college despite positive comments after his official visit to Madison. He has a commitment date set for July 30, so there is still a chance he changes his mind in the coming month though. 

Nate Johnson (Boston College) and Amare Snowden (Cincinnati) were also top targets at one time but committed elsewhere in June. 

Safety

Current commits: 

Top targets:

The breakdown: In an ideal world, the Badgers would like to have the pairing of Justin Taylor and Kahlil Tate at safety in 2023. Taylor is already committed to joining Jim Leonhard's position group, and Taylor is diligently working to recruit Tate to follow his lead. Each comes from Illinois, and the duo would form a strong tandem in the backend of the secondary.

Taylor and Tate both bring a level of versatility that would allow them to play cornerback if needed, and they each possess good ball skills based on their offensive background too.

Tate is coming off an official visit to Iowa City, and the Hawkeyes are considered the other major contender in his recruitment. He has a plethora of other Power-5 offers and also took an official visit to Purdue, but Wisconsin is in a tight battle with Iowa for Tate's commitment entering the dead period.  

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