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Wisconsin 2023 recruiting: May status report (offense)

A look at where the Badgers stand at each position in the 2023 recruiting class on offense as of late May.

The Wisconsin football team has added five commitments during May, and with official visit season under way for 2023 prospects, the month of June could provide plenty of fireworks on the recruiting trail for the Badgers. 

With an eye toward next month's action, let's break down where Wisconsin stands at each offensive position in the 2023 class. 

2023 quarterback Lincoln Kienholz celebrates winning the state championship and winning the MVP award (Credit: Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

South Dakota quarterback Lincoln Kienholz is arguably the top quarterback option for the Badgers right now in the 2023 cycle. 

Quarterback

Current commits: None

Top targets

  • Avery Johnson 

The breakdown: Looking to take one quarterback in the 2023 class, the Badgers still have work to do at the position after missing out on Brayden Dorman and JJ Kohl. Kansas quarterback Avery Johnson has held an offer from Wisconsin for a while now, but he has yet to step foot on campus, and his recruitment seems to be trending elsewhere at the moment.

The most realistic player with an offer right now, is Lincoln Kienholz of Pierre, South Dakota. A multi-sport athlete with a ton of upside, Kienholz has seen his offer list balloon this month. Having only earned an offer from Wisconsin in the past few weeks, the next step for the Badgers is to get him on campus in early June for an official visit. 

Wisconsin has been evaluating several other quarterbacks lately, but as things stand, Kienholz is the player to watch. The Badgers are battling North Dakota State, Washington, and Wyoming for the South Dakota native at this time. 

2023 Running back Jaquez Keyes.

Four-star running back commit Jaquez Keyes posing during an unofficial visit to Madison. 

Running back

Current commits: 

Top targets: Keyes and White represent the top targets for the Badgers. 

The breakdown: Wisconsin is ahead of schedule at running back for the 2023 class with commitments from four-star running back Jaquez Keyes of Ironton, Ohio, and Milwaukee tailback Nate White. 

The duo complements one another well, and the assumption is that the two running backs conclude Wisconsin's efforts at the position. The Badgers came into the 2023 cycle needing multiple running backs, and the fact that position coach Al Johnson was able to secure both players before June is a huge success. 

Keyes has earned recent offers from Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan since his commitment, but the Badgers do not seem to be in any danger of losing the powerful running back out of Ohio for now. 

2023 WR Collin Dixon.

2023 wide receiver Collin Dixon will take an official visit to Wisconsin over the weekend of June 10.

Wide receiver

Current commits: None

Top targets:

  • Tre Spivey
  • Justin Marshall
  • Kaleb Black
  • Anthony Brown

The breakdown: Wide receivers coach Alvis Whitted has the Badgers in a good spot with multiple targets in the 2023 class. Looking to take at least two receivers, Ohio athlete Collin Dixon is scheduled to take an official visit to Madison over the weekend of June 10 and had nice things to say about his spring trip back in April.

Beyond Dixon, three other targets have seemingly emerged lately as realistic possibilities. Tre Spivey out of Arizona is a big 6-foot-4 target that the Badgers are very high on. While he has yet to schedule an official visit to UW, the hope is that Wisconsin will be able to get him on campus at some point in June.

Kaleb Black is a slot receiver out of Texas that the Badgers are also on. As things stand, Wisconsin is arguably his best offer on the table, so it will be interesting to see if he winds up visiting this summer. 

Indiana wide-out Justin Marshall is another name to watch. The three-star receiver has been to Madison twice before and has several Big Ten teams involved in his recruitment. He has not planned out his official visits yet, but Wisconsin is a top contender.

Former Minnesota commit Anthony Brown is a longshot right now, but he has shown interest in the Badgers in the past too.

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Tight end

Current commits: None

Top targets:

  • Jackson Carver

The breakdown: Wisconsin is still searching for a tight end in the 2023 class. Right now, Saint Louis tight end Zach Ortwerth is probably the most likely candidate. He will officially visit Madison the first week of June, and Wisconsin signed his high school teammate Chris Brooks Jr. in the 2022 cycle. The visit will go a long way in determining if the Badgers can land Ortwerth, who is also planning trips to Iowa, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh in June as well.

Jackson Carver is still a possibility too, but recent visits to Miami and LSU may have the Badgers outside of his top group at the moment.

Newly offered tight end Chico Holt will also be a tough pull based on his offer list, but he is willing to leave the state of Texas, as shown in his official visits scheduled with Northwestern and Michigan. Holt is another talented prospect where the key will be getting him on campus for an official visit this summer.

Brookfield East (Wis.) tight end Nollen Tabaska is also someone to monitor. He took an unofficial visit back in April and will camp with the Badgers this summer. Tabaska is a big tight end that could easily earn an offer with a big camp performance or the very least, be a preferred walk-on candidate down the road. 

2023 offensive lineman Christopher Terek poses during a visit to Wisconsin back on April 22.

Offensive lineman Christopher Terek posing for a photo during an unofficial visit with Wisconsin. 

Offensive line

Current commits: 

Top targets:

  • Joe Crocker

The breakdown: Offensive line coach Bob Bostad and the Badgers landed a crucial commitment from James Durand back on May 6. The Arizona native could play guard or tackle at the next level, providing the staff some flexibility with their offensive line class.

Wisconsin is still in the market for a couple more offensive linemen and has three of their top candidates lined up to visit officially in June.

Tennessee offensive tackle Joe Crocker and Illinois lineman Christopher Terek are each expected to be on campus the first week of June with Durand, while Texas four-star Ian Reed will visit Madison the following weekend.

All three have strong offer lists, and the Badgers are battling some tremendous teams from around the country for their services. Right now, Wisconsin is probably in the best position for Crocker of the three targets. 

Beyond those offered prospects, the other name to keep an eye on is Austin Barrett. The younger brother of current Wisconsin guard Dylan Barrett, he told All Badgers back in April that he plans to camp with the Badgers in June in hopes of an offer.

Should Wisconsin miss out on one or more top targets, Barrett could be a candidate for an offer. He has plenty of other suitors though, so it will be fascinating to see if he is willing to wait. 

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