Number of Scholarship Players added:
2 (Alec James
– rated three starts and No.62 overall; Chikwe Obasih
– rated three starts and No.43 overall)
Number of Scholarship Players lost: 0
Who did the Badgers beat? James picked Wisconsin over seven other offers and had an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Notre Dame offer. Obasih also picked UW over seven offers, including Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi and Vanderbilt.
Beginning the cycle with a tight amount of scholarships, it's evident by their actions that the Wisconsin coaching staff wanted to secure its in-state talent early. An up-and-coming prospect with a lot of upside, the Badgers offered James in February, getting a jump on a lot of the other schools that had been showing him interest.
Michigan State and Notre Dame followed with offers before James attended UW's spring game in April, picked up an offer from Clemson shortly after and got a scholarship from TCU in late May. James narrowed his list down to Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin before taking a second round of visits. Wanting to get the decision out of the way, James took one more trip up to Wisconsin on August 6, the first day of camp, to tell the coaching staff he committed.
"I had my close family up there, which was nice, and I wanted to get it done before the season," James said, breaking the news to Badger Nation. "I decided to make the decision today. I feel happy about it. I feel like there is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I am just happy to call myself a Badger now."
Obasih was targeted by Wisconsin's coaching staff dating back to early his junior year, as the Brookfield Central product was invited to attend Wisconsin's big wins over Nebraska and Penn State in 2011. Wisconsin's February junior day was the start of a busy swing that would take him to Illinois, Purdue, Nebraska and Iowa State, so getting a scholarship offer from the Badgers set the tone.
"They're in-state, so you always have to make that a high choice, so I can stay home and close to family," Obasih told us following the offer. "A lot of people from my high school from my high school play there. There's a tradition of people from our high school going there."
That tradition weighed on Obasih, especially since he heard it from the hallways of his school that he should pick on Wisconsin on practically a daily basis. The Badgers coaching staff was pretty patient, having him and James up in March for some one-on-one time. Obasih returned for the Wisconsin spring game after taking more Big Ten trips, and finally started to feel the pressure to commit.
Although he wasn't having the best visit, Obasih still wanted to be there, a sign that it was the right place for him athletically and academically.
"They were one of the only schools that have my major," he told us after his decision. "That was one of things that struck me there. A former Badger and student at my high school toured me around the business school and I saw the actuarial science and risk management program. Most don't have that program to the caliber that Wisconsin does."
James' Scouting Report: James has outstanding speed for a man his size at his position. Being clocked at a 4.52 40-yard dash in the summer, that track speed for James translates on to the gridiron, as he plays quick, gets off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball and has good footwork. According to national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu, James, "changes directions quickly, showing the ability to set up offensive linemen and beat them to the inside as well as get around them with a speed rush. In pursuit, he not only has a good motor, but closes quickly and arrives with bad intentions."
James will have to put on some weight to build his 225-pound frame and do it the right way to keep his speed. Depending on what scheme Wisconsin will run on defensive with the new staff, James could be a weakside defensive end or a stand up outside linebacker. He's athletic enough to drop into coverage and has a good motor to make plays in space.
Obasih's Scouting Report: Having seen Obasih play twice in person, once in the summer and once in the fall, it was easy to see how far he's come. At Wisconsin's high school summer camp, Obasih played with a reckless abandon, relying on his athleticism and speed to correct any minor mistakes he was making to attack the ball carrier and make the tackle.
Watching in the fall, it was evident he was relying more on his technique, played within himself while still maintaining that aggressiveness. He's a quick, athletic kid who is light on his feet and does well in space. He has good closing speed and shows he's capable of putting heat on the quarterback.
Obasih appears more comfortable in a three technique than anywhere else, as he likes to play that slant/tackle position, giving the new coaching staff some options with him. His swim move is a deadly weapon at the high school level, so it'll be important for him to continue to build that along with his bull rush. Although he's a little light now, Obasih has the frame to play at 275 pounds and be a disruptive force.
How the position could change: Like many of UW's commits, James was hit hard by the decision of Bret Bielema to leave for Arkansas without warning, and he became an easy target for coaching staffs. Immediately after Bielema left, Michigan State was calling and in his high school. James also picked up new offers – like Oregon offering the third week of December and visiting his high school.
Having only taken his official to Wisconsin the weekend after Bielema left and Barry Alvarez was put in charge, James said he plans on taking official visits to Oregon, Michigan State, Florida State and/or Clemson. According to Obasih, a close friend who is not wavering on his commitment, James is just looking for confirmation that Wisconsin is or isn't the right fit.
"Alec has always considered taking official visits even before the coaching change happened, so he wants to know what the best fit is for him," Obasih told us. "I still think he loves Madison deep down and just wants to know if they will be as successful for the next several years."
Alec James Junior Highlights
For more information on the 2013 Wisconsin verbal commits, sign up for a three-month or year subscription with Badgernation.com in time to get the 2013 Wisconsin Recruiting Yearbook that includes breakdowns, features and interviews of the entire class
With less than a month until national signing day, BadgerNation breaks down the 2013 recruiting class position by position as it stands today. In this edition, we break down the two defensive ends committed to Wisconsin.