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‘I’ve found my home’: Badger football recruits reflect on national signing day

MADISON, Wis. – High schoolers across the nation are putting pens to paper to agree to play college football.  On Wednesday, 24 athletes signed their national letter of intent to become Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers will have 19 athletes who are scholarship commitment and five of them are preferred walk-ons into the program. 

The recruiting class of 2019 features athletes from Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Wisconsin. They are being called Wisconsin’s best recruiting class, ever. 

The top-rated recruit to sign is five-star offensive tackle Logan Brown’ from Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to 247 Sports. The most highly anticipated recruit is four-star pro-style quarterback Graham Mertz, who has had offers from plenty of prestigious football programs, including Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. 

Hayden Rucci, from Warwick High School and a native of Lititz, Pennsylvania, is a highly recruited tight end.  He received offers from many other Big Ten schools but told News 3 that found his home at Wisconsin.  

“I was looking for a perfect mix of football, academics and culture.  After look at schools all over the country, I found that no place matched up to Wisconsin.  This program is the best for me as a player and even more so as a person/student,” said Rucci. 

 

 

Running back Julius Davis, from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, tells us that many factors went into deciding that Wisconsin was the place for him.

“The history of running backs, the community, coaches, academics and it’s my hometown so all of those together couldn’t be matched by any school,” he said.

 

 

Davis said he has been in contact with a lot of the recruits who signed to play at Wisconsin and he wants to create his own legacy with the Badgers.

“Time to follow the footsteps ahead of us and pave a way for the guys under us,” said Davis.

Titus Toler is a late signee for the Badgers from California.  According to his Twitter page, Toler just announced his commitment to Wisconsin on Dec. 14. The three-star safety had previously verbally committed to Colorado, but after coaching changes decided to reopen is recruitment.  

“I was blown away on my Wisconsin trip.  First the academics, second the coaching.  I feel the coaching staff can prepare me as I am there.  All of the coaches on the staff from Coach (Bobby) April all the way down to the weight room coach had a drive in them and that is something I want to be around,” Toler said. 

 

 

Toler told News 3 that it’s always been a dream of his to play football at the next level and to put on the cardinal and white in the fall.

“I can’t wait to suit up for the Badgers. It’s a blessing. As a kid, you dream of playing college football. But to be able to play for a school that has tradition and great fan support is exciting.”  

A part of Toler’s commitment to the Badgers is in thanks to his high school teammate Spencer Lytle, who verbally committed to Wisconsin in August. 

Defensive tackle, Gio Paez, from William Amos Hough High School in North Carolina, received 19 offers from universities across the country.  He tells News 3 that the Badger State had everything he wanted for him as an athlete and as a student.  

“Wisconsin was the best choice for me athletically and I believe it will be the best place for me to develop as a student and an athlete,” said Paez. 

The third-highest recruited player from the Class of 2019 is Joe Tippmann,  an offensive tackle from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“The recruiting process was full of excitement.  Just great getting to travel and in the end, find my home,” the four-star recruit said. 

 

 

There’s a lot of anticipation for the future Badgers to take the field come 2019 due to the amount of talent that will be on the roster.

“I think the rankings and stuff like that are great.  It’s pretty cool to say we’re the highest ranked-class in Wisconsin’s history,” Rucci told News 3. “However, the rankings don’t mean anything if you can’t prove it.”

The Badgers are still looking forward to finishing their 2018 season on a high note as they take on the Miami Hurricanes on Dec. 27 in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. 

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