This one has been long rumored, but after getting burned by the Donnell Vercher deal last season the Badgers learned the JUCO lesson and took their time this time around, but on Thursday it became official as Kenosha, WI native Joe Keels officially committed to the Badgers.
Not only is Keels a Wisconsin native, but he's also Melvin Gordon's cousin and played for Kenosha Bradford before taking off for Highland (Kan.) Community College.
The four-star prospect is the 15th member of the Badgers 2014 class at this point in time and his combination of size (6'4" and 275 lbs.) and speed could make him a candidate to play multiple roles for UW, according to Evan Flood of Badger 247 (our official recruiting partners).
"Even though it was a late offer to Keels, Wisconsin has been on the four-star defensive tackle for awhile and he addresses an immediate need to the defensive line that will be rather depleted at the end of the season," said 247sports Badger Insider Evan Flood. "Keels could be a down lineman for Wisconsin, or play the hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end position for the Badgers in the 3-4 defense."
"Regardless of where he ends up, kudos to the coaching staff for both getting a prospect that can help right away and pushing the academic paperwork through quicker than expected to get this done as Alabama and Nebraska recently set their sights on Keels."
That last sentence should get you excited alone, considering 'Bama and Nebraska don't go after just any JUCO talent.
Keels chose the Badgers over offers from a nearly who's who of top college programs including Alabama, USC, Iowa State, Penn State, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Maryland….just to name a few.
You can see why there was so much interest in Keels with his video from the end of 2012 here:
With the commitment the Badgers moved up to No. 28 nationally and are now just behind Michigan and Ohio State in Big Ten recruiting according to the 247sports rankings. Clearly the Badgers are putting together a class that hasn't been seen in Madison in a long time.