National Recruitment Analyst Clint Cosgrove weighs in with a trio of Group of Five coaches who have bright futures and four Midwest 2023 rookies Wisconsin should be targeted. It also examines how Illinois ride this season.
MORE THREE-POINT POSITION: Texas A&M, Iowa, Dynamic Coaches
RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2023: Rivals250 | Crew | Position | State
RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2024: Rivals250 | Crew | Position | State
RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2025: Rivals100
TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/cover | bulletin board
1. Group of five coaches ready to ride.
Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina: Going 27-3 over the last 30 games, Chadwell has the Chanticleers rolling and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. What I love most about Chadwell is that he has proven himself capable of creating powerful programs no matter what division he is in or what resources have been handed to him. His name is already popping up for Power Five vacancies and if the right opportunity arises, Coastal Carolina will likely have their hands full trying to retain him.
Sean Lewis, Kent State: Kent State had a line of bruisers for a schedule to start the year, and while the 2-3 record on paper couldn’t blow anyone away, Lewis proved he could coach hard during his tenure with the Golden Flashes. . the old Wisconsin is an offensive guru who had already proven himself as a coordinator at the Power Five level before taking over at Kent State, where he thrived. Along with Lewis’ FlashFAST offense setting numerous school records, he also led Kent State to their first-ever bowl win in just his second season at the helm. Lewis is young, energetic and innovative. If he doesn’t land a Power Five job this season, seek out one of college football’s blue bloods to lure him into a high-paying offensive coordinator position.
Kane Wommack, South Alabama: Wommack, 35, is rolling South Alabama with a 4-1 record to start his second season at Alabama. The Jaguars’ only loss came on the road to No 18 UCLA, and they were leading going into the fourth quarter, eventually losing 32-31. Although the sample size is small, Wommack has been impressive as a defensive coordinator in previous stops and has shown the ability to build a dangerous program in a short amount of time.
2. Four 2023 Midwestern rookies that Wisconsin should chase — or try to knock down.
ATH Malachi Coleman: The Nebraska native is as weird as they come, and while his commitment date is fast approaching, it doesn’t hurt for the Badgers to give their best. I believe Coleman is focusing on his previously released top seven, but with new blood in Madison and Coleman’s potential adjustment as an advantage in Jim LeonhardIn his defense I would make him say “no” before I abandon this recruitment.
S Khalil Tate – Iowa commit: Tate chose the Hawkeyes over the Badgers when he announced his commitment to Iowa in July. While I think Tate is solid with the Hawkeyes, I also know he connected with Leonhard throughout the recruiting process and the programs were neck and neck until the very end. With the former defensive coordinator now taking over as head coach at Wisconsinit might be worth it for the Badgers to go back.
OF Kendrick Gilbert – Purdue commit: Although Wisconsin wasn’t in the top four for Gilbert prior to his commitment to Purdue, the Badgers offered the Rivals200 rookie from Indiana. The Badgers supposedly have a need at the defensive end, and if that’s really the case, the lure of playing under a defensive-minded head coach in a program that consistently produces defensive linemen of the NFL may be enough to get Gilbert to consider Wisconsin. It’s another case of trying to capitalize on any momentum that comes with a coaching change and the worst Gilbert can say is no.
QC Lincoln Keinholz – Washington commit: Wisconsin has eliminated 2023 QB rookies so far, and it will likely be a position of importance as the Badgers try to close out the 2023 class. Keinholz was seriously considering the Badgers before his commitment and, along with Washington, Wisconsin was the only other Power Five team to make it into its top four. The South Dakota product has a major upside and is a player Wisconsin would be wise to revisit as it lays out a recruiting plan moving forward.
3. Illinois rolls.
Say that Bret Bielema and staff faced an uphill battle when taking office at Illinois would be an understatement, and the speed with which Bielama transformed the program is to be applauded. Although its work is far from finished, it is a program that badly needed an identity following a Lovie Smith era that lacked results on the field and pretty much kept Illinois away from recruiting in its home state. Although last year’s 5-7 record was nothing to write home about, his Illinois team exceeded expectations and even picked up a few wins with wins over the time. seven Penn State and then-No. 20 Minnesotawho both came down the road.
Although there were glimpses of hope in the first year, the Illini entered the second year under Bielema with tempered expectations from fans and the media. Fast forward five weeks into the 2022 season and it’s clear the program has made progress few, if any, outside of Champaign saw coming. Illinois currently sits 4-1 overall with a signature win over Wisconsin last weekend and his only defeat coming in the final seconds on the road to Indiana. The offense is firing on all cylinders, the defense is fading, and with a number of winnable games on the schedule, the sky’s the limit for what Illinois can accomplish in Year 2 under Bielema.
In-state recruiting is going to take a little longer and there is still a lot of work to do to build the program as a whole. But, for the first time in a long time, there’s a buzz around Illinois football among the state’s high school coaches and rookies. The product that Bielema and his staff have put on the field this year has proven that you can stay home and potentially compete for championships. Victories on the field will be followed by victories on the recruiting track, and while I thought hiring Bielema was a great choice when Illinois announced him as head football coach, the speed at which this turnaround seems to be happening far exceeded my expectations.