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Badgers offers a trio of 2020 prospects

Badger of Honor analyzes Wisconsin Football’s three new offers in 2020.

Phillip Webb – Linebacker

Lanier (Buford, GA) inside linebacker Phillip Webb claimed an offer from Wisconsin on Friday evening.

Per the 247Sports composite rankings, Webb is a 4-star prospect and ranks as the No. 7 inside linebacker and No. 237 overall player in the 2020 class. His recruitment has picked up considerable steam over the last few months, with recruiting heavyweights such as Georgia, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech and more opting to extend offers.

I can see why the Wisconsin staff is interested here. Webb is listed as an inside linebacker, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Badgers are envisioning a move to the outside in their 3-4 scheme due to his long 6’4 frame. That length hints at the potential to both disrupt passing lanes in coverage and use that leverage to rush off the edge and get in the backfield. As I’ve said before with similar prospects, the physical comparison to guys like Andrew Van Ginkel and T.J. Watt who have starred on this Wisconsin defense is intriguing.

It’s possible that Webb could be interested due to his fit in Wisconsin’s defense and the program’s recent run of success at linebacker, but I wouldn’t expect the Badgers to make much noise in this recruitment. That offer list speaks for itself, and it’s incredibly difficult for Wisconsin to pull a kid of Webb’s recruiting pedigree out of SEC country when so many of those schools are also heavily involved.

Grant Toutant – Offensive Tackle

De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, MI) offensive tackle Grant Toutant was offered by Wisconsin just a few hours before the Badgers took on the Wolverines on Saturday. Unfortunately, he attended the game as a guest of the Michigan staff and watched his latest suitor get clobbered.

247Sports lists Toutant as a 3-star prospect and ranks him as the No. 51 tackle and No. 497 overall player in the 2020 class. His only other offers at this time are from Indiana State and Toledo, but that list will get much longer soon in all likelihood. Central Michigan, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt are some of the schools that have expressed interest in the 6’6, 280-pound tackle.

Though his recruitment is certain to get much more competitive, at this point, it’s fair to say Wisconsin could be a major player for Toutant. As with any offensive line recruit, the major advantage for the Badgers is Wisconsin’s unofficial title of “O-Line U”, a selling point that has proven to be extremely effective on the recruiting trail over the years, and especially early on with this 2020 class that already has three talented linemen committed in Trey Wedig, Jack Nelson, and Dylan Barrett.

There’s also Wisconsin’s recent success with poaching recruits from the Wolverine State, even those coveted by in-state powers Michigan State and Michigan, to consider. In the three most recent classes (2017-2019) the staff has added a total of seven Michigan natives, a relatively new development for a Wisconsin program that historically had not been much of a player in Michigan on the recruiting trail for the most part.

Xavier Watts – Wide Receiver

The latest 2020 recruit who Wisconsin has officially added to its board is Burke (Omaha, NE) wide receiver Xavier Watts, who was offered on Monday.

Watts is currently a 3-star prospect and ranks as the No. 102 receiver and No. 556 player overall in his class. His other offers include Iowa State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and South Dakota State.

The 6’1, 170-pounder is a dynamic and versatile playmaker, as Watts is a two-way standout for Burke due to a potent blend of speed, athleticism, and size that lends itself well to making plays on the outside as a receiver or as a defensive back in the secondary. As an added bonus on offense, Watts also looks like a crisp route-runner.

The addition of Watts would provide another boost to the collective talent level of Wisconsin’s receiving corps, which Paul Chryst and his staff have managed to gradually improve over the last few seasons with players like Danny Davis, Aron Cruickshank, Taj Mustapha, A.J. Abbott, and Isaac Guerendo.

However, I have a hunch this won’t be an easy get for the Badgers.

Next: 10 best Wisconsin football games since 2010

Nebraska has not yet offered Watts, but the shadow of the charismatic Scott Frost is lurking. Frost and his staff have already beat out the Badgers for commitments from two of Watts’ teammates at Burke in the 2019 class in linebacker Nick Henrich and tight end Chris Hickman. If the Huskers extend an offer to Watts, it seems unlikely that he would choose Wisconsin over a chance to stay home and play in Frost’s high-powered offense.



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