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ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Zach Heilprin

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Badgers football: Aydon headed to Oregon State

Jan 26, 2015 -- 11:43pm
 
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin has lost a fourth commitment in the class of 2015.
 
Defensive tackle Elu Aydon (Pago Pago, American Samoa) flipped his commitment to Oregon State on Monday, joining former Badgers coach Gary Andersen.
 
A three-star recruit according to ESPN, Aydon also had offers from Colorado, Hawaii and Nevada.
 
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound, Aydon was recruited by former UW defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a.
 
Aydon joins offensive lineman Sam Madden, cornerback T.J. Griffin and wide receiver Brandyn Lee as players to decommit since Andersen left.
 
Wisconsin still has 25 commitments in the class of 2015.
 
National Signing Day is Feb. 4.

Badgers football: UW adds Alabama RB

Jan 24, 2015 -- 9:58pm
 
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin went way down south to pick up a commitment from a three-star running back this weekend.
 
Bradrick Shaw (Birmingham, Alabama) tweeted the news on Saturday night.
 
 
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound, Shaw chose the Badgers over claimed offers from South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi among others.
 
Rated the No. 36 running back in the country by the 247Sports composite, Shaw joins four-star running back Jordan Stevenson as the Badgers tailbacks in the class of 2015.
 

Badgers football: Another former Pitt commit switches to Wisconsin

Jan 24, 2015 -- 6:48pm
 
MADISON - Paul Chryst has taken a second verbal commitment away from his old stomping grounds.
 
Defensive tackle Kraig Howe (Dayton, Ohio) announced his commitment on Saturday afternoon while on his official visit to Madison.
 

 

Howe, a three-star recruit according to ESPN, orginially committed to Pittsburgh but reopened his recruitment after the departure of Chryst.
 
The 6-foot-3, 253-pound, Howe also had offers from Boston College, Minnesota, Illinois and others.
 
Howe is the second former Pittsburgh commitment to switch to the Badgers. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook also flipped to Wisconsin and enrolled last week.
 

Badgers football: Waunakee RB commits to UW

Jan 22, 2015 -- 11:45pm
Photo/La Crosse Tribune
 
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin added a local prospect to their class of 2015 on Thursday.
 
Waunakee running back Troy Laufenberg announced via Twitter that he had committed to the Badgers.
 
 
247Sports.com reported that Laufenberg is committed as a preferred walk-on.
 
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound, Laufenberg was a first-team all-state pick by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association in 2014 after rushing for 2,242 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. He also ran for 1,400 yards as a junior.
 

Badgers football: Third player de-commits

Jan 22, 2015 -- 1:29am
 
MADISON - Make it three players in the class of 2015 that have de-commited from the University of Wisconsin.
 
Early Thursday morning, wide receiver Brandyn Lee tweeted that he had reopened his recruitment.
 

 

Lee, a three-star recruit from West Hills, California, committed to former UW coach Gary Andersen last June, but the coaching change saw both of his main recruiters – Chad Kauha’aha’a and Chris Beatty -- leave for other jobs.
 
The 6-foot, 172-pound Lee has offers from Fresno State, Nevada and Washington State.
 
In his senior season, Lee had 36 catches for 663 yards and four touchdowns.
 
His departure leaves UW with just one wide receiver in the class of 2015.
 
The other two players to de-commit are offensive lineman Sam Madden and cornerback T.J. Griffin.

Badgers football: Andersen says academics played significant factor in leaving

Jan 21, 2015 -- 11:47pm
Photo/Getty Images
 
MADISON - It’s been mentioned as a reason since the day he left, but former University of Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen finally gave confirmation that a significant reason why he’s now at Oregon State was the admissions policy in Madison.
 
In a CBSSports.com article, Andersen said that he promised certain kids that they would get admitted and several times that ended up not being the case.
 
"I think they did what they were supposed to do [academically] and they still couldn't get in,” Andersen told Dennis Dodd. “That was really hard to deal with."
 
In just three recruiting cycles, including the class of 2015, Andersen and Wisconsin lost at least six players – JUCO safety Donnell Vercher, nose tackle Craig Evans, defensive end Rohan Blackwood, wide receiver Chris Jones, linebacker Mohamed Barry and offensive lineman Sam Madden -- that had verbally committed to them, all due to academics.
 
The most recent de-commitment came from Madden this past Sunday. In an interview with MaizeNBrew.com, Madden’s father, Dave, said Wisconsin assured him early in the process that if the New Jersey product achieved a certain grade point average (GPA) that he would be admitted. But when Dave Madden reached out to UW to find out when his son’s acceptance letter would be coming, he got a big surprise. New coach Paul Chryst told him it would be a long shot for him to be admitted.
 
"I went through the roof because we had been absolutely led down a path. We were asked to be loyal and not take any other official visits," Dave Madden told the website. "I was out of the country when I got the call and was traveling all week, so I couldn't even tell Sam until (last Saturday) and that was very upsetting because we felt we were betrayed.
 
"At the end of the day it boils down to this: The University of Wisconsin made him an offer and said 'if you do this academically, you’re in here. Please commit to us, don’t take any other visits. We did everything we were asked to do. They lied to us and didn’t do what they said they would do.'"
 
The problem of getting students admitted is a fairly new one. Current Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who coached the Badgers for 16 seasons, and former coach Bret Bielema, rarely had issues getting players into school. Some say the roadblocks Andersen ran into were the result of an increase in the academic standards.
 
"I think it got to the point where the [Wisconsin] academic criteria definitely had shifted gears," Andersen told Dodd.
 
His former boss disagreed.
 
"We haven't changed," Alvarez said. "You're not going to change our admissions policy here. You're not going to change our academics here. ... All you have to do is check our track record."
 
Alvarez told Dodd that the admissions office will work with coaches but won’t compromise the academic integrity of the university to get players in.
 
In rebuilding the Utah State football program, Andersen stocked his team with junior college players, guys that for one reason or another – usually academics – couldn’t get admitted to the school out of high school. In 2012, his final season with the Aggies, Andersen had 29 junior college players on the team. That same year at Wisconsin there was not a single junior college player on the roster.
 
While it remains unclear how or if the standards at Wisconsin increased, the fact remains that only one school – Michigan – requires more than the 17 high school units that UW does to gain admission.
 
"That's not Wisconsin's fault," said Andersen, who was able to get three JUCO kids admitted during his time. "That's Wisconsin's deal ... I want to surround myself with those kids I can get in school."
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