Who did the Badgers beat? Brookins picked the Badgers over the Gophers, who he was once committed to. Shelton – a one-time Florida State commit - picked Wisconsin over other favorites Cincinnati, Nebraska, UCF and Wake Forest. He also had offers from Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Although he was on Wisconsin's radar for a few years, Brookins was unable to fully show the Badgers his full capabilities as he was recovering from a left ACL that cost all but one game his junior year. When Minnesota showed enough belief in him and offered him a scholarship, Brookins committed in February 2012. But as his knee got better, Brookins' interest in Wisconsin remained.
Having promised the UW staff he would camp at Wisconsin, Brookins was impressive during the Badgers' one-day summer camp. Showing off the speed, agility and versatility (he can play cornerback or safety) in front of defensive backs coach Ben Strickland that attracted UW in the first place, the Badgers felt more than comfortable offering him a full ride.
"I was invited to the camp and I just wanted to work out against good competition," Brookins told Badger Nation after the offer. "It felt really good competing out there. I feel blessed that they gave me an opportunity."
After evaluating his options for a month, Brookins released a statement thanking Minnesota coaching staff, but feeling that Wisconsin was the right for him academically, athletically and socially. Unfortunately for Brookins, he tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee in late September. He will enroll early for spring semester to finish his rehab and eye a contributing spot in the fall.
Shelton never questioned his talent or abilities, but was always concerned he wasn't the tallest player and wasn't going to get the big interest. That changed when Florida State graduate assistant (and former Green Bay Packer cornerback) Terrell Buckley saw Shelton in person and was wowed by his feet, balance and coverage skills. Shelton was offered and committed in the summer of 2011.
Charlie Partridge - Wisconsin's Florida recruiter from the same city as Shelton – noticed the same things that Buckley saw. When he sat down and started having conversations with the 5-9 cornerback, Shelton became impressed of the opportunities outside the state of Florida.
"A lot of coaches have drawn a red flag because of my weight, but Wisconsin said my weight wasn't an issue and that my abilities were hard to find," Shelton told us in February. "They said they have a good weight program and that they could put weight on me. That was the first time me hearing that from a school because most school say I am too small."
While Wisconsin stayed vigilant in its pursuit of Shelton, Florida State did not after Buckley left for Akron. Shelton took his visit to Wisconsin for the season opener, becoming enthralled with what the program and the city had to offer. He de-committed from Florida State shortly after and picked Wisconsin at the beginning of October.
Brookins' Scouting Report: A speedster with big play ability, Brookins has been clocked in the 40-yard dash as low as 4.36 seconds. Unofficially he was in the 4.3 range at Wisconsin and showed it by easily out running players and keeping up with receivers step for step.
When healthy, Brookins could be a great special teams guy, able to return kicks and use his quickness to get to the edges on plays. Brookins has played several positions in his career on both sides of the ball (primarily wide receiver on offense), but seems better suited for safety or possibly cornerback.
Brookins' biggest weakness at this point is his physicality at the line of scrimmage and his tackling ability, as scouts say he would not be an ideal fit as a cover 2 corner or as a strong safety on a defense that likes to play a lot of traditional cover 3 or cover 4 with the safeties playing close to the line of scrimmage.
The 5-10 defensive back makes up for his small size with great ball skills, instincts and athleticism. Wisconsin has thrived by utilizing smaller, athletic cornerbacks, and Brookins is that fit. He is competitive, makes big plays, performs well under pressure and works hard in the classroom; a typical Wisconsin recruit.
Shelton's Scouting Report: An explosive player, Shelton nicknames himself "Shelton Island" for his ability to play one-on-one with receivers and hold his ground. Like many South Florida cornerback, he plays with savvy, confidence and swagger, and isn't afraid of any matchup.
Shelton continues to get bigger, but enrolling in the Badgers' winter conditioning program and for spring ball will certainly help push the process. He will have to improve going against bigger wide outs that can match his athleticism.
According to Fox Sports Next's Geoff Vogt, Shelton played on the SoFloridaExpress 7on7 team for two years and was a starter, saying that is an accomplishment unto itself as that team is "flat loaded."
How the position could change: With both players set to enroll in classes in the coming weeks, the Badgers should feel comfortable with the product the former coaching staff brought in. With scholarships at a premium, I expect Wisconsin stays put.
Sojourn Shelton Junior Highlights
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