Grading the outside linebacker addition in the 2022 recruiting class

·3 min read

The Wisconsin Badgers signed 14 scholarship players during the early signing period of the 2022 recruiting cycle.

And while it’s possible that number could still change, Wisconsin’s class currently ranks 44th in the country, and 11th in the Big Ten – with an average recruiting ranking of (0.87), per 247 sports.

In part eight of a position by position recruiting evaluation series, I will be handing out grades for each position from the early signing period.

So, without further ado, I evaluate the outside linebacker addition.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: B+

Commits: (1) Isaac Hamm

An argument could be made that outside linebacker is one of the deepest position groups in the entire program. So, Wisconsin was in position to be picky, and only take someone the program felt had a chance to be a difference maker at the position.

Wisconsin had to wait a while for the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin native to commit, but they finally locked Isaac Hamm in to their 2022 class.

Isaac Hamm is a four-star recruit per 247, and totaled 73 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a senior – despite playing with a labrum tear in each shoulder.

Accolades: Named the Large School Defensive Player of the Year, Won the Tim Krumrie Award, given to the top defensive lineman in Wisconsin, WFCA first-team selection as a junior and senior.

Isaac Hamm played defensive end at Sun Prairie, but Wisconsin see’s him as an OLB in their defensive front. Hamm possesses some of the same qualities that TJ Bollers had, making him a versatile option as a pass-rusher or hand in the dirt defensive lineman.

Hamm is someone that already has great size and strength coming out of high school, while also having a frame that allows him to put on more weight if need be. The thing that stands out most about Hamm’s game is the way he explodes getting off the ball and shows good bend for a potential edge rusher.

There are many unknowns about Hamm’s ability in coverage or even how he plays in space, but with the talent ahead of him, he’ll have plenty of time to refine his game. What I can tell you is that he has impressive physical traits for a player his size – all the tools are there for him to be a potential impact player for Jim Leonhard regardless of what position he ends up playing.

Conclusion:

This is a big win for Wisconsin for several reasons: they picked up an impact pass-rushing prospect to add to an already deep room, and kept a premium in-state player home despite an impressive offer list.

Wisconsin has elevated their recruiting of the outside linebacker position, and the on-field success is assuredly a reason why. The arrow of this position group continues to point up.

Other evaluations: QB | RB | WR| TE| OL| DL| ILB

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