The Badgers are looking for a new top-of-the-board prospect at LB and they just may have found one.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any major college athletics team, but following it closely as a fan can sometimes be difficult and can often be time consuming. We’ll try and condense all the recruiting news you can use into this bi-weekly (sometimes more) post. It’ll include updates on current commits, including stats from their high school games, as well as news on players the Badgers are still pursuing. Let’s get down to business!
- After missing out on their top linebacker target in the 2023 class, the Badgers wasted no time in firing off a new offer. 2023 4-star LB Blake Nichelson (Ripon, Calif.) out of Manteca High School is now on UW’s radar. On July 4, Nichelson announced a top-three schools of Florida State, Oregon and UCLA, but according to a post from Evan Flood at Badger247 ($), Nichelson is not making a decision any time soon and is interested in learning more about Wisconsin. Based on all of the predictions at the various recruiting sites, the Ducks appear to be the favorite currently. He also has offers from Nebraska and basically the rest of the Pac-12 too.
— Blake Nichelson 4⭐️LB (@NichelsonBlake) July 21, 2022
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing in the neighborhood of 210 pounds, Nichelson is rated as the No. 241 player and No. 21 LB in the nation by the On3 Consensus. He is also the No. 15 player in California. In the new 247 standalone rankings released this week, Nichelson jumped up 46 spots and is now listed as the No. 132 player in the nation there.
According to the On3 scouting report, Nichelson is an impressive athlete who still has room to improve:
Easily out-runs opposing defenses with the ball in his hands. Spends much of his time on defense as a standup pass rusher. Shows his speed on defense with the ability to hunt down ball carriers and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Has neutral wing-span and shorter arms relative to other top linebackers. Will need to adjust to playing in space at the next level, but has more than enough speed and athleticism.
Last season on defense, he accounted for 49 tackles (11 for loss), seven sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one safety and one pick six. I don’t even know if you’re going to believe me when I tell you his offensive stats, but I’m going to put them here anyhow: he rushed the ball 208 times for 2,231 yards (10.73 yards per carry) and 36 rushing TDs while catching 19 passes for 381 yards and seven more scores. Lmao, that’s insane.
The second highlight on his tape is the pick six, which was made when he tipped a screen pass to himself and then ran 55+ yards for the touchdown. He is extremely fast and it doesn’t matter if you run the ball away from him, he will chase down the ball carrier from behind.
He has already accepted invitations to the All-American Bowl and the Polynesian Bowl, two of the most prestigious high school all-star games in the country, and I’d imagine he’ll see more offers come his way this fall. Nichelson is no consolation prize and would definitely make up for the loss of Tackett Curtis to Southern Cal, were he to consider Wisconsin moving forward.