Nebraska Recruiting: Lessons in How Wisconsin Built its Offensive Line
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: Lessons in How Wisconsin Built its Offensive Line

November 15, 2019

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Year in and year out, Wisconsin’s offensive line is one of the most consistent units in the conference. The Badgers have a formula that has worked in Madison for years on how to build an effective running game. It starts with the big guys up front. 

Here are Wisconsin’s rushing ranks in the Big Ten for the last five seasons. The Badgers are sitting at No. 2 in the conference so far in the 2019 season. For the record, Nebraska is currently No. 4. 

2018 1
2017 2
2016 3
2015 10
2014 1

Since Nebraska has been in the Big Ten, the Badgers offensive line has been a point of jealousy. Not just by Nebraska fans who yearn to see the Huskers run the ball efficiently but from most of the conference. The Badgers are coming to Lincoln this weekend so it made me curious to find out where their current line comes from. What were they were like as prospects?

The results are pretty interesting. All five of their Week 1 starters this season are from Wisconsin. The state of Wisconsin is not known to be a recruiting hotbed. Yet the Badger State pumps out high-level Big Ten offensive linemen for the state school. There is only one 4-star in the group, Cole Van Lanen. Two of the starters were unranked in high school. Tyler Biadasz, one of the best centers in America, played defensive end in high school.

Here are their starters height and weights now. Plus what they weighed as prospects along with their recruiting ranking.

  • Cole Van Lanen (6-5, 312, Jr.) (4-star, 6-5, 283) 
  • Jason Erdmann (6-6, 328, Sr.) (unranked, 6-5, 310) 
  • Tyler Biadasz (6-3, 321, Jr.) (3-star DE, 6-3,270)
  • Josh Seltzner (6-4, 327, So.) (unranked, 6-6, 310)
  • Logan Bruss (6-5, 310, So.) (3-star, 6-4, 260)

There are two big keys for Wisconsin in building the level of consistent play the team has enjoyed: development and patience. Looking back through the Badgers’ recruiting classes, it’s rare that a player comes in as a freshman and plays. It's also hard to find redshirt freshmen who played early. That’s easier to do when you have all-conference level upperclassmen.

The way Wisconsin does it is not the only way. There are schools bringing in highly rated linemen and developing them into reaching their full potential. We don’t have enough evidence to judge Frost and his staff’s approach to offensive line development. They have done well adding offensive lineman to the program in the two years they have been here. 

We’ll see how it goes into the future for Greg’s Austin’s group but for now a lot of “his guys” are getting seasoned behind the scenes. That might not be such a bad thing. 

Recruit Watch

>> Huskers running back commit Sevion Morrison got his trophy for becoming his school’s all-time leading rusher. 

>> Chris Paul, a 2021 linebacker target from Georgia, is all set for his visit to Lincoln this weekend. 

>> Southern High School linebacker Braden Klover joined the walk-on class on Thursday. 

>> Jeff Bowie, a 2021 defensive end from Iowa, posted his junior film. He also informed Hail Varsity that he will be in Lincoln for the game against Iowa.


>> Husker volleyball earned a sweep over Michigan State on the road on Wednesday night.

>> I took a look at Wisconsin’s recruiting (Premium) at a glance for the 2020 cycle. 

>> Tom’s Time looks back at a quarterback quandary heading into the 1989 season.

> > Scott Frost briefly spoke to the media ahead of the game this weekend.

>> The men’s hoops team is focusing on improving shooting with SDSU coming to town.

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