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20 Big Recruiting Questions - No. 9 to 12
Wisconsin QB Bret Bielema
Wisconsin QB Bret Bielema
Posted Feb 2, 2009

What's happening this recruiting season? Is Dan Hawkins having any luck at Colorado? Is Boise State starting to get better recruits? Why isn't Wisconsin getting better players? Has Michigan's demise helped Michigan State? Check out CFN's Big 20 Questions for the 2009 Recruiting Season.

Recruiting 2009 - The 20 Big Questions

No. 9 to 12 - What's happening with Colorado, Boise State, Wisconsin and Michigan State?

The 20 Big Questions of the Recruiting Season
No. 1 to 4 | No. 5 to 8 | No. 13 to 16 | No. 17 to 20

12. Q: How much juice does Dan Hawkins have on the recruiting trail at the moment considering Colorado’s struggles so far? What’s the one area the team really needs to beef up?

A: Kyle Ringo, Colorado football beat writer, Daily Camera newspaper,

Dan Hawkins has a surprising amount of juice on the recruiting trail considering his team has gone 13-24 in his first three years on the job. With that track record, you wouldn't figure five-star defensive end Nick Kasa of Broomfield, Colo., would be de-committing from Florida just days after the Gators won the national championship to stay home and attend CU. You also wouldn't expect the Buffs to even get a visit from the likes of Byron Moore, a one-time USC commitment, who will decide on national signing day between the Buffs, Trojans and Notre Dame. If Hawkins can get in the conversation with these guys now (remember he nabbed the No. 1 tailback in the nation in 2008, Darrell Scott), I wonder what he might be able to do in recruiting if he ever has a winning season in Boulder.

11. Q: Now that Boise State is getting a better track record of developing pro players, are the bigger recruits starting to pay more attention?
A:  From Kevin Hiatt,

Yes, but that hasn't necessarily changed Boise State's recruiting philosophy.  The name "Boise State" gets our coaches into more living rooms now than ever before, but that doesn't mean our coaches have changed anything about not only who they recruit, but how they recruit.  Boise State has built a college football dynasty by going for players that fit a specific profile.  They must be football players above all.  That sounds obvious, but some of the higher ranked position players are great at their position, but not really great Football players at heart.  They have the size, the speed, the strength, but they just aren't good 'team first' football players.  Boise State looks for the equivalent of a basketball 'gym rat' first and foremost.  Those types of players are high football IQ players, but they're also passionate about the game, obsessed with perfecting their craft, and dedicated to the 'team first' mentality first and foremost.  Sometimes you can find those qualities in a bigger sized recruit, and when our coaches do they pursue them aggressively, and lately with more and more success.
Another thing Boise State looks for is players that are hungry to prove themselves.  Two examples of that, 1) Freshman QB Kellen Moore.  Had arguably the most impressive year of any Freshman QB in the Nation, shredded the Oregon pass defense in his 3rd game as a collegiate athlete, yet only had scholarship offers from Boise State and DI-AA Eastern Washington out of high School because he only stands just over 6-0.  2) MLB commit Allen Mooney.  He is the No. 26 ranked MLB by, but at only 5-10ish he's viewed by some as undersized, and was passed over by most 'name' schools.  It is that type of player, talented, driven, but also hungry to prove himself, that has made Boise State into such a dominant force on the college football landscape.

10. Q: How come there hasn't been much of a buzz about recruiting at Wisconsin under Bret Bielema? What's the biggest area of need for UW to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Benjamin Worgull, Publisher of

Much Buzz?

One of the reasons that there hasn't been much buzz about Bielema's recruiting is the inability for the Badgers to grab big-time talent from out of state. Unofficially this season, the Badgers offered scholarships to 10 players that participated in high school all-star games and all of them chose not to attend Wisconsin.

In four recruiting classes under Bielema, the Badgers have inked 85 kids. Of those 85 kids, they've inked only seven recruits that have been rated either four or five stars by Scout Media and all five have been from the state of Wisconsin. Only Racine Park's John Clay has been an impact player.

Another reason is the players the Wisconsin coaching staff have recruited aren't highly ranked to begin with. Of the 20 verbal commits, eight only have a two star ranking, including three of the last four. The Badgers have only signed four players in the last four months and only Pat Muldoon was highly sought after on a national scale. Of course, if East St. Louis wide receiver Kraig Appleton picks UW over Illinois, UW's ‘09 class would end with a bang.

The last, but certainly not least, reason why this class hasn't received much buzz is because of the status of the head coach. In his first season replacing Barry Alvarez, who many consider one of the best unsung recruiters of his time, Bielema recorded a program-record 12 wins and won the Capital One Bowl over Arkansas with a team comprised mostly of Alvarez's players.

Since then, Wisconsin is 16-10 and 0-2 in bowl games, including a 29-point crushing to Florida State, the Badgers worst bowl loss since 1960. With fans calling for Bielema to be fired and with a recruiting class devoid of the big names and impact players that went other directions, there isn't much positive buzz heading into the 2009 season.
With the Badgers losing three senior starters on the defensive line, the need for quality players to fill the gaps was priority one. Early returns suggest that Wisconsin accomplished just that. Wisconsin's first two signees for the 2009 class was four-star recruit and 17th-ranked defensive tackle Jordan Kohout from Waupun (who has recovered nicely from a shoulder injury) and defensive end Shelby Harris, a three-star recruit that was the key athlete that led Mequon (WI) Homestead to two state championships in three years.

Wisconsin also added Tyler Dippel, a solid athlete that played linebacker in high school but will play defensive tackle for UW, defensive end David Gilbert from Northeast (FL) H.S. and defensive end Pat Muldoon from St. Xavier H.S. in Cincinnati, who chose UW from his over 32 scholarship offers.

9. Q: Just how much are Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State staff able to take advantage of Michigan’s down season? What’s the biggest area of need for MSU to hit this recruiting season?

A: From Mike Fowler, Managing Editor and Publisher,

The Spartans coaching staff really took advantage of Michigan’s ill-advised decision to turn away from Bo Schembechler’s style of football -   a brand of football that brought them forty years of success – and dominated the in-state recruiting scene. 

Of the top ten prospects in the state, MSU got seven of them.  Two went to Ohio State, only one to Michigan.   The big names in this class for the Spartans are four-star linebacker, Christian Norman of Detroit Renaissance along with four star running backs Edwin Baker of Oak Park and Larry Caper of Battle Creek.  One of the two running backs will likely play immediately to replace Spartans all-time great Javon Ringer.

State wanted to address the offensive and defensive lines due to heavy graduation losses and ity did so with stunning success.  MSU will add US Army All American David Barrent and three star prospects Henry Conway of Shaker Heights, OH, Blake Treadwell (son of offensive coordinator Don Treadwell) of East Lansing and Nate Klatt of Canal Fulton, OH. 

Treadwell, in particular, looks better than his three star ranking and is likely to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball.

While this incoming class isn’t likely to impact on-field results for a couple of years, MSU is already set to make a run at the conference championship this year.  It clearly has distanced itself from the so-called “Little Eight” and is set to become a major player in the Big Ten conference as long as Mark Dantonio is the head coach.