Big Ten Signing Day: What else but O-line for Badgers?

Big Ten Signing Day: What else but O-line for Badgers?
February 7, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Big Ten Signing Day

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There are few days as frantic as National Signing Day. And sometimes it can be a difficult enough task to try and keep up with news of one team, let alone 12 of them.

Well, now that all the Signing Day hubbub has died down, it’s a good time to take a look at what happened in the Big Ten. How did the teams do? Who are the big-name recruits coming to the conference next season? And how happy were the coaches with their respective hauls? We’ve broken it down, team-by-team.

Wisconsin Badgers

(Rivals rankings: 6th Big Ten, 33rd nationally)

Wisconsin is known for its running prowess. But perhaps more than being known for its star running backs, it's known as an offensive-line factory. And that’s not about to change anytime soon, as Gary Andersen’s 2014 recruiting class, by design, is chock full of talent on the offensive line.

One of the Badgers’ top recruits this season is four-star tackle Jaden Gault, ranked as one of the 30 best offensive linemen in the country. He’s one of five new O-linemen coming to Madison, including three-star linemen Michael Deiter and George Panos. It’s all with the goal of getting to 16 scholarship offensive linemen (the Badgers sit at 14 currently) and continuing that rushing success.

[MORE: Shot at Northwestern reminds of Illini in-state struggles]

Recruit in Rivals 250:

239. Dareian Watkins, four-star athlete (Gallon, Ohio)

Coach speak: “Really do,” Andersen said when asked if he thinks the incoming freshmen linemen could compete for playing time right away. “With Jaden and Michael coming in at the break for the semester, already being involved in the program, they have a tremendous opportunity to do that. Jaden will be in the mix. Michael may be the starting center with the injuries at this point to Dan (Voltz) and to Dallas (Lewallen). So that is a tremendous opportunity for a young freshman at the center spot. Very challenging, but a great opportunity.”