The Wisconsin Badgers are set to announce Gary Andersen as their new head coach later this week. With many questions surrounding the hiring and Andersen, firstly I will tackle is what he brings to the recruiting table.
Andersen did a fine job with the Utah State Aggies, bringing the program from a nobody to a somebody in just four short years. He led the Aggies to an 11-2 record, 6-0 in the WAC and bringing home their first outright conference championship since 1936 and the team’s first bowl win in 19 years.
But what will this all mean for the Badgers when it comes to recruiting? What Andersen did with his time as head coach for the Aggies nothing short of impressive. The seniors on this year’s team was Andersen’s first recruiting class. And when it comes to recruiting in Utah and surrounding areas, the Aggies are considered to be third in line behind the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes. Andersen literally turned nobody’s into somebody’s during his tenure with the Aggies.
And now Andersen will have top recruits at his disposal in Madison. He is a “defense first” type of coach and there should be no worries that he can go out and get some very high profile defensive recruits.
But what about on the offense? He did wonders in recruiting star running back Kerwynn Williams, who led the Aggies with over 1,500 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Did I mention he was a Doak Walker candidate as well? Williams was recruited by a number of different schools, but it was the no-name Andersen and the Aggies who eventually ended up with the talented running back. I see no worries when it comes to recruiting and developing talented recruits on the offensive side of the ball.
Andersen will have a tough task ahead of him however, as the Big Ten has recruiting geniuses Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke in the conference. Getting some four and five-star recruits will be nice for Andersen, but if he is going to be successful he will have to steal some top name recruits out from under guys like Meyer and Hoke.
It will be very interesting to see just how Andersen will do in the recruiting battle in the Big Ten. He is not known for getting recruits from the Midwest and out East, although he did have a decent pipeline in Florida. Andersen will have to establish himself as a top recruiter early on. If Andersen is able to win the recruiting battle in the conference, the sky will definitely be the limit for the Badgers. It’s time for Andersen to go from being a nobody in Big Ten country, to quickly becoming a somebody.