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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Irish Fighting Battles With The Wisconsin Badgers

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A prelude to a future showdown.

Twitter @GrahamMertz5

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish play with the big boys of college football when it comes to recruiting top talent for the gridiron. Whether it be the Ohio State Buckeyes, Texas Longhorns, Georgia Bulldogs, USC Trojans, Alabama Crimson Tide — or any other recruiting powerhouse you want to think of, the Irish have won and lost many battles against programs such as those.

Generally, the Wisconsin Badgers are never really mentioned in those discussions. Despite being a really, really good football program for 25 years now, the Badgers don’t get the respect they probably should get on the recruiting trail.

Compared to the Irish over the last 6 seasons, the Badgers don’t come close to the same kind of success recruiting top talent - and yet they have arguably been the better program.

Irish VS Badgers 2013-2018

Wisconsin Recruiting Ranking AP Final Rank Recruiting Ranking Notre Dame
Wisconsin Recruiting Ranking AP Final Rank Recruiting Ranking Notre Dame
2018 44 NA / NA 10 2018
2017 39 7 / 11 10 2017
2016 35 9 / UR 15 2016
2015 41 21 / 11 13 2015
2014 32 18 / UR 11 2014
2013 40 22 / 20 5 2013
Average Recruiting Rank: WI 38 / ND 11

The 2019 recruiting cycle is working a little differently right now. It is still very early, but Wisconsin is doing quite well recruiting, and has some parts that the Irish covet.

The Badgers are currently have the #20 class for 2019 while the Irish are sitting at #12 according to the 247 Composite rankings. Wisconsin has a 5 Star offensive lineman committed — and we aren’t even going to talk about him. There are three other prospects that are quite intriguing.

  • 4 Star QB Graham Mertz. Notre Dame had a 4 Star quarterback in the fold in Cade McNamara, but the west coast prospect opted to take a different path and committed to the Michigan Wolverines. A few names and offers started to surface as the next target for the Irish. As of right now, that target is Wisconsin commit, Graham Mertz. Mertz committed to the Badgers back in October, but he is listening to what the Irish have to say. No visit is scheduled right now, but Notre Dame is pressing Mertz pretty hard.
  • 3 Star RB Julius Davis. The Irish are stumbling a bit right now in regards to their running back recruiting. Names have been falling off of their big board left and right, and they are in need of options. Davis isn’t just an option for Notre Dame, he’s a priority. Everyone expects him to visit Notre Dame at some point this summer, and if/when he does, this could become a more favorable battle for Notre Dame.
  • 3 Star OL Joe Tippmann. This one is a little strange. Tippman comes from one of the great high school programs in the state of Indiana (Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger) and does not hold an offer from Notre Dame. He committed to the Badgers back in December, and wasn’t recruited very hard by former Irish offensive line coach, Harry Hiestand. Jeff Quinn, however, likes Tippmann and is talking to him about a visit — although it appears that Joe is pretty happy with Wisconsin.

The funny thing about all of this is that I wouldn’t be shocked if all three flipped to Notre Dame, and at the same time... I wouldn’t be shocked if all three stayed committed to Wisconsin. It’s just kind of an odd situation right now.

Notre Dame is going toe to toe with Wisconsin for they’re commitments. It wasn’t long ago that they interviewed Bob Bostad, the Badgers offensive line coach, to take the position left vacant by Harry Hiestand. The Irish ultimately chose Jeff Quinn, and when it happened, many Irish fans were angered by the decision. I’m not sure if it means anything or not, but the intertwining battles between these two schools is getting interesting.

Notre Dame and Wisconsin will finally face one another for the first time in 56 years in 2020. It’s funny that these battles are now surfacing as we get closer to that date. Notre Dame’s decline in college football can be traced back to the end of the 1993 season — just as Wisconsin’s rise in college football can be traced back to the same season.

This summer will be an interesting one, and certainly Notre Dame and Wisconsin fans will have their head on a swivel with thse recruitments.