A look at the Badgers' recruiting classes from 2007-10

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ballx-large.jpgWith national signing day for football coming up on Wednesday, this is the time of year a lot of folks get wrapped in recruiting rankings, "five-star" athletes and "winning" signing day. I thought it would be a good idea to go back and look at the Badgers' signing day classes in recent history and see how they fared. I left out last year's class because obviously the jury is still out on most of the players.

Signing Day links:
Feb. 1, 2011 - USA Today: Wisconsin consistently outperforms recruiting rank
Jan. 30, 2012 - USA Today: Future All-America players are often not the top recruits
Jan. 31, 2012 - 'Varsity' preview: Early enrollees get jump on becoming Badgers

I don't want this taken as an indictment of recruiting rankings. According to Rivals.com, Alabama has had the No. 1 class in the country three of the last four years. And I heard they were pretty good this season. So there is some correlation between success on the recruiting trail and succeeding on the field. However, both Illinois and Minnesota were ranked higher than UW in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Their combined record over the last three seasons was 29-46 (.387). Wisconsin was 32-8 (.800).

From 2007-10, Wisconsin signed 86 players to National Letters of Intent. Sixty-four of those players (74.4 percent) are either still on the Badgers' roster or finished their careers at UW. A recent story came out that Auburn has only retained 57 percent of its signees from 2009 and 2010 (both classes ranked in the top 20 in the country by Rivals). UW has 39 of its 45 signees (86.7 percent) still on the roster over that span.

On the field, these classes have helped UW win back-to-back Big Ten titles, play in consecutive Rose Bowls and become one of just six teams in the country to win at least 10 games in each of the last three seasons.

Below are some facts and figures for the Badgers' classes in question:

2007
- 17 players signed
- Ranked 34th nationally and 7th in the Big Ten by Rivals
- Produced 11 starters
- 10 players finished their careers as Badgers
- 7 earned All-Big Ten honors and 1 All-American
- Notable signees: RB John Clay (4 stars), S Aaron Henry (3 stars), OL Josh Oglesby (5 stars), WR Nick Toon (4 stars)

2008

- 24 players signed
- Ranked 41st nationally and 6th in the Big Ten by Rivals
- Produced 14 starters (includes 2 walk-ons)
- 15 players finished their careers as Badgers or are still on the roster
- 6 earned All-Big Ten honors (includes 1 walk-on) and 2 All-Americans
- Notable signees: CB Antonio Fenelus (2 stars), OL Peter Konz (4 stars), LB Mike Taylor (2 stars), OL Kevin Zeitler (3 stars)
- Notable walk-ons: FB Bradie Ewing (2 stars), OL Ricky Wagner (not rated)

2009

- 21 players signed
- Ranked 43rd nationally and 8th in the Big Ten by Rivals
- Produced 9 starters (includes 2 walk-ons)
- 17 players are still on the roster
- 5 earned All-Big Ten honors (includes 1 walk-on) and 2 All-Americans
- Notable signees: RB Montee Ball (4 stars), LB Chris Borland (3 stars), OL Travis Frederick (3 stars), TE Jacob Pedersen (2 stars)
- Notable walk-ons: Ethan Hemer (not rated), Jared Abbrederis (not rated)

2010

- 24 players signed
- Not ranked in Rivals top 50, 11th in the Big Ten
- 22 players are still on the roster
- Notable signees: DT Beau Allen (3 stars), OL Rob Havenstein (3 stars), RB James White (3 stars), WR Manasseh Garner (3 stars)
- Notable walk-ons: K Kyle French (not rated), LB Marcus Trotter (not rated)

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