Thursday, December 13, 2007

All our ree-cruits live in Texas ... and Florida

My Hotmail inbox has been flooded with messages from Scout over the past couple days updating me on new Badger football commitments. Here are the last four:

CB Marcus Cromartie, Arlington, Texas (two pictures of him at right)
DT Eriks Briedis, Miami
DE Anthony Mains, Naples, Florida
CB Devin Smith, Coppell, Texas

Scrolling down the list we see:
S Shelton Johnson, Lewisville, Texas
S Kevin Claxton, Lauderdale Lakes, Florida

So that makes three recruits apiece from Florida and Texas. Without going back and analyzing past recruiting classes, I'd guess this is the most we've gotten from either state in a single recruiting class, and to get six from the two combined is an eye-opener. By contrast, we've only got one recruit from Ohio, and none from New Jersey, out-of-region areas that have been good to us. Maybe Henry Mason's health problems have hurt us in Ohio.

Florida isn't that much of a surprise, given Bielema's background there. Elijah Hodge, Zach Brown, and Aaron Henry are already contributing. Texas has me worried, though. Who of note have we pulled from that state? The only one who comes to mind is Michael Broussard, and he flamed out quickly.

I'm not saying we should intentionally stay away from Texas, or anywhere else for that matter - if there's a potential contributor in Alaska bring him in - but if we're going to focus on "hotbeds" I don't think Texas is a place to focus. This usually ties in to who your assistants are. Whatever, now that they're almost Badgers, I hope they set the world on fire.

Of all those guys, Cromartie is the most intriguing. Toohey keeps asking if he's the brother of Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie - probably not, since Marcus is from Arlington, Texas, and Antonio is from Tallahassee. Isn't the difference in the two mug shots of him above hilarious? Why is it a requirement for football players to act like hard asses in their official mugs? That said, I want to see the guy on top show up for coach B, ready to smack someone.


Craig Pintens said...

Taps, you might want to check your statement of Texas not being a hotbed.

If Wisconsin is ever going to ascend to that group of teams that are contending every year for a national championship, you have to go where the players are. The players are in Florida and Texas.

Relying on the the Scout list

I did a quick count of the top 300 players and counted 35 from Texas. You know how many were from Wisconsin? 0

So much of recruiting is making inroads in certain areas of the country, which you pointed out, as New Jersey and Ohio have been very good to the Badgers. However, the best players in the country are found in Florida and Texas so even if your first couple classes of recruits from those areas don't pan out, if you treat them right and develop the necessary relationships in those areas, you'll have an easier time landing blue chip kids.

Of course recruiting classes don't mean much, and although I don't follow college football as closely as basketball, I can't recall Wisconsin ever really having a top ten recruiting class, yet they compete year in and year out for the Big Ten title. Just imagine what the coaching staff could do with the talent lurking in Texas and Florida.

Millie said...

Good post Craig. Don't forget that they are also currently "leading" for 4-star S/LB Keanon Cooper, also from Texas. He would be another good get, as he seems to be in the Jonathan Casillas mode.

Scott Tappa said...

I am by no means denying that Texas is a hotbed of talent, I have seen Varsity Blues three times.

And you're right treating kids right and giving them a good experience is paramount to continuing success.

But my point is that we already have that foundation in NJ and Ohio, and it will take years to develop that in Texas (we have something of a track record in Florida). Also, there are a lot more Division I schools in Texas - and between Texas and Wisconsin - than there are between Ohio and Wisconsin.

It's going to take a steady commitment, and long-term, maybe we have a pipeline like we've had with Cleveland and St. Louis. Hope we get there.

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