Wisconsin Badgers sign 25 to 2019 football recruiting class

The Wisconsin football program announced the addition of 25 student-athletes Wednesday, with 19 players signing National Letters of Intent and six more joining as walk-ons on National Signing Day.

Complete bios for the Badgers’ signees, as well as a pronunciation guide, can be found below. A complete roster of the signees is attached. Highlight videos for each signee are available here: https://go.wisc.edu/NSD2019

Keeanu Benton

DL ▪ 6-4 ▪ 290

Janesville, Wis. (Craig)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … first-team all-state by Associated Press as a senior ... all-region and All-Big Eight Conference as a senior ... named Janesville Gazette All-Area Player of the Year ... finished senior season with 75 tackles, 7.0 TFLs, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery ... two-time state qualifier in wrestling, finishing as Division 1 runner-up at 285 pounds as a junior with a 48-2 record ... coach was Adam Bunderson

Personal: Parents are La’Tasha Benton and Troy Rodriguez

Stephan Bracey Jr.

WR ▪ 5-10 ▪ 165

Grand Rapids, Mich. (East Kentwood)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals ... helped East Kentwood capture OK Conference championship as a senior, making 40 catches for 893 yards and 14 total touchdowns ... had 525 receiving yards and 393 rushing yards as a junior, scoring nine total TDs ... four-time All-OK Conference selection ... two-year team captain ... also competed in track, helping East Kentwood to back-to-back state titles as a sophomore and junior ... owns five top-five finishes at state meet, including championship in 4x200 relay as a sophomore ... four-year all-academic selection ... coach was Tony Kimbrough

Personal: Parents are Stephan and Yamaka Bracey ... sister Sekayi Bracey competes in track and field at Purdue

Logan Brown

OL ▪ 6-6 ▪ 288

Grand Rapids, Mich. (East Kentwood)

High School: Five-star recruit by 247 Sports … four-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals … All-American Bowl selection ... helped East Kentwood capture OK Conference championship as a senior ... all-state as a junior and senior ... All-OK Conference selection as a junior and senior ... team captain as a senior ... also starred in track, helping East Kentwood to back-to-back state titles as a sophomore and junior  ... won consecutive Division 1 state championships in the shot put as a sophomore and junior ... finished eighth in shot put as a junior and 10th as a senior at New Balance Nationals ... four-year all-academic selection ... coach was Tony Kimbrough

Personal: Mother is Kristyn Brown ... sister Jessica Brown played volleyball at Western Michigan

Leo Chenal

ILB ▪ 6-2 ▪ 215

Frederic, Wis. (Grantsburg)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … 2018 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year ... first-team all-state (small schools) at both running back and linebacker by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a senior ... second-team all-state (all schools) on both offense and defense by Associated Press as a senior ... named Wisconsin’s small school Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the year by WFCA as a senior ... John Anderson Award winner as the state’s top senior linebacker ... first-team all-state by WFCA at linebacker as a junior ... four-year All-Lakeland Conference honoree ... finished career with 385 tackles, 55 TFLs, 7 sacks and 3 interceptions ... on offense, finished with 3,706 yards and 68 TDs rushing as well as 1,300 yards and 17 TDs receiving ... two-year team captain ... also earned All-Lakeland honors in basketball and track ... four-year honor roll student ... National Honor Society ... coach was Adam Hale

Personal: Parents are David and Brenda Chenal

Clay Cundiff

TE ▪ 6-4 ▪ 230

Wichita, Kan. (Bishop Carroll)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … first-team all-state as senior, making 19 catches for 303 yards and seven touchdowns ... helped Carroll to Class 5A state championship as a junior ... also helped Carroll claim Class 5A state basketball title as a junior ... coach was Dusty Trail

Personal: Parents are Sarah Kriwiel and Gary Cundiff ... father played basketball at Wichita State from 1982-87

Julius Davis

RB ▪ 5-11 ▪ 190

Menomonee Falls, Wis. (Menomonee Falls)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … second-team all-state by Associated Press and honorable mention all-state by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior ... All-Greater Metro Conference selection as a sophomore and junior ... finished career with 447 carries for 3,067 yards and 32 touchdowns ... limited to two games by injury as a senior, carrying 48 times for 537 yards and 6 TDs ... had 257 carries for 1,762 yards and 17 TDs as a junior ... logged 142 carries for 768 yards and 9 TDs as a sophomore ... state track qualifier in 4x100 relay as a junior ... coach was Dan LutNz

Personal: Parents are Michelle Tovar and Dornaj and Molly Davis ... father played football at Carthage College

Quan Easterling

RB ▪ 6-1 ▪ 245

Akron, Ohio (Archbishop Hoban)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN … part of three consecutive state championship teams, helping Hoban go 43-2 over his three varsity seasons ... two-year team captain ... a two-way player, he made six catches for 75 yards in his career and also had 5.0 sacks on defense ... three-year letterwinner in basketball ... four-year honor roll student ... coach was Tim Tyrrell

Personal: Parents are Latasha Easterling and Jeffrey Oden

Dean Engram

CB ▪ 5-9 ▪ 160

Columbia, Md. (Gonzaga College HS)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … helped Gonzaga to Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship as a senior ... three-time All-WCAC selection, earning first-team honors at cornerback as a sophomore and senior and a second-team nod at wide receiver as a junior ... first-team All-DC State Athletic Association at cornerback as a freshman ... coach was Randy Trivers

Personal: Parents are Bobby and Deanna Engram ... father is wide receivers coach of the Baltimore Ravens ... father was a three-time All-American and the 1994 Biletnikoff Award winner as a receiver at Penn State and went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL

Rodas Johnson

DL ▪ 6-4 ▪ 285

Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales)

High School: Four-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals … three-star recruit by 247 Sports … had 32 tackles, 2.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks as a senior ... started five games at defensive tackle as a junior, recording 23 tackles and 7 TFLs ... also made four starts at right guard as a junior ... coach was Ryan Wiggins

Personal: Parents are Keith and Alemzwed Johnson

Spencer Lytle

OLB ▪ 6-3 ▪ 215

Redondo Beach, Calif. (St. John Bosco)

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals … three-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN … helped lead St. John Bosco (13-1) to CIF Southern Section Division 1 title game as a senior, recording 108 tackles, 12 TFLs and 7 sacks ... 2018 Butkus Award high school watch list ... All-Trinity League selection as a junior and senior ... named a top-100 player in California as a junior and senior by Cal-Hi Sports ... finished junior season with 77 tackles, 7 TFLs and 3 sacks ... four-year honor roll student ... National Honor Society ... coach was Jason Negro

Personal: Parents are Mike and Deana Lytle ... father played safety at Hawai’i ... brother Tyler plays quarterback at Colorado

Semar Melvin

CB ▪ 5-11 ▪ 155

Pembroke Pines, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals … three-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN … helped Aquinas reach Class 7A state title game as a senior, recording 13 pass breakups while not allowing a touchdown in man coverage ... named one of Broward County’s top players by South Florida Sun Sentinel ... also had 9 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery ... as a junior, recorded 1 interception, 8 pass breakups and 7 tackles ... also a standout in track ... as a junior, ran a then state-leading 22.52 in the indoor 200 meters ... honor roll student ... coach was Roger Harriott

Personal: Parents are Santana and Lakechea Melvin

Graham Mertz

QB ▪ 6-3 ▪ 205

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley North)

High School: Four-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … Elite 11 quarterback ... selected for The Opening Finals ... 2018 Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year ... All-American Bowl selection as a senior ... 2018 Thomas A. Simone Award winner as top Kansas City-area player ... all-state as a junior and senior ... first-team All-Eastern Kansas League as a junior and senior ... led Blue Valley North to Class 6A state championship as junior and runner-up finish as a senior ... completed 61.1% of his passes for 3,886 yards and a state-record 51 touchdowns as a senior, also rushing for 267 yards and 4 TDs ... completed 62.0% of his passes for 3,684 yards and 45 TDs as a junior, adding 455 yards and 5 touchdowns rushing ... finished career with 96 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions ... four-year honor roll student ... coach was Andy Sims

Personal: Parents are Ron and Amy Mertz ... father played football at Minnesota from 1989-92 ... sister Lauren Mertz played basketball at Kansas State in 2014-15 ... sister Mya Mertz plays basketball at Drake

Skyler Meyers

OLB ▪ 6-3 ▪ 200

Blue Springs, Mo. (South)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … first-team All-Simone as a senior, tallying 120 tackles, 17 TFLs and 3 sacks and adding 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception and 2 pass breakups ... first-team all-district and first-team Kansas City Star All-Metro as a junior and senior ... first-team All-Suburban Gold Conference as a junior and senior ... finished varsity career with 235 tackles, 30 TFLs, 10 sacks, 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles ... moved up to varsity as a freshman as part of South’s state title-winning team ... coach was Jon Oyler

Personal: Parents are John and Bonnie Meyers

Maema Njongmeta

ILB ▪ 6-1 ▪ 205

Buffalo Grove, Ill. (Adlai E. Stevenson)

High School: Four-star recruit by ESPN … three-star recruit by 247 Sports and Rivals ... first-team all-state by Illinois High School Football Coaches Association as a senior, finishing with 131 tackles, 23 TFLs, 10 sacks and 2 forced fumbles  ... All-North Suburban Conference as a junior and senior … two-time all-area selection ... team MVP as a senior ... team captain ... had 88 tackles, 13 TFLs and 12 sacks as a junior ... two-time IHSFCA Academic All-State ... coach was Josh Hjorth

Personal: Parents are Leo and Lynda Njongmeta

Gio Paez

DL ▪ 6-3 ▪ 305

Cornelius, N.C. (William A. Hough)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … first-team All-I-Meck Conference as senior ... team’s defensive line MVP as a junior ... two-year team captain ... also lettered in basketball, playing varsity as a freshman at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles ... coach was Matt Jenkins

Personal: Parents are Yvette DeAngelis and Ron Morton Jr.

Hayden Rucci

TE ▪ 6-4 ▪ 230

Lititz, Pa. (Warwick)

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals … three-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN … first-team All-Lancaster-Lebanon League as a junior and senior ... second-team all-conference as a sophomore ... team captain as a senior ... made 30 catches for 645 yards and 8 touchdowns as a senior ... had 19 receptions for 376 yards and 3 TDs as a junior ... finished career with 58 catches for 1,129 yards and 12 TDs ... four-year distinguished honor roll student ... coach was Robert Locker

Personal: Parents are Todd and Stacy Rucci ... father played football at Penn State and was a second-round NFL draft pick who went on to play for eight seasons with the New England Patriots ... mother played field hockey at Penn State ... grandfather Thomas Gilburg played football and lacrosse at Syracuse and went on to play four seasons with the Baltimore Colts

Joe Tippmann

OL ▪ 6-6 ▪ 275

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Bishop Dwenger)

High School: Four-star recruit by 247 Sports … three-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals … Indiana Mr. Football offensive lineman as a senior ... Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State Top 50 as a junior and senior ... first-team all-state by Associated Press ... Indiana Prime Time 25 selection as a junior ... first-team All-Summit Athletic Conference as a junior and senior ... league MVP as a senior ... a team captain, helped lead Bishop Dwenger (14-1) to 2018 Class 4A state championship ... credited with 102 pancake blocks on offensive line while racking up 41 tackles and 3 sacks on defense as a senior ... had 68 tackles as a junior ... coaches were Jason Garrett and Chris Svarczkopf

Personal: Parents are John and Kimberly Tippmann

Titus Toler

S ▪ 5-11 ▪ 180

Long Beach, Calif. (St. John Bosco)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … helped lead St. John Bosco (13-1) to CIF Southern Section Division 1 title game as a senior, recording 68 tackles, 4 interceptions and a fumble return touchdown ... also lettered in track and field ... coach was Jason Negro

Personal: Parents are Robert and Chandara Toler ... father played football at Colorado from 1996-99

James Williams

CB ▪ 5-11 ▪ 175

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Chaminade-Madonna Prep)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals … helped Chaminade-Madonna (12-2) to second straight Class 3A state championship as a senior, finishing with 63 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 interceptions and 8 pass breakups ... two-year team captain ... coach was Dameon Jones

Personal: Parents are Eddie and Michelle Williams ... brother Xavier Williams plays football at Alabama

WALK-ONS

Peter Bowden

LS ▪ 6-3 ▪ 215

San Diego, Calif. (Francis Parker)

High School: Five-star long snapper by Kohl’s and Rubio … No. 7-ranked recruit nationally by Rubio Long Snapping … No. 11-ranked recruit nationally by Kohl’s … selected for Alex Spanos All-Star Classic ... successfully delivered all 227 snaps of four-year varsity career ... team captain ... on defense, logged 63 tackles, a team-leading 6.0 sacks and 3 forced fumbles as a senior ... had 31 tackles and team-high 5.0 sacks as a junior, also recording a blocked field goal ... three-year letterwinner in baseball ... four-year honor student ... coach was Matt Morrison

Personal: Parents are Brian and Jennifer Bowden

Tatum Grass

OLB ▪ 6-2 ▪ 207

Holmen, Wis. (Holmen)

High School: Honorable mention all-state at both defensive end and tight end by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and Associated Press as a senior ... first-team All-Mississippi Valley Conference and MVC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior ... had 14 TFLs and 10 sacks on defense and 20 receptions for 325 yards and a touchdown on offense in eight games as a senior ... first-team All-MVC at defensive end as a junior, recording 15 TFLs and 3 sacks ... two-time all-region selection by WFCA ... team captain ... also lettered in basketball and track ... four-year high honor roll student ... coach was Travis Kowalski

Personal: Parents are Pat and Jen Grass ... father played football at UW-Stevens Point

Jackson Kollath

ILB ▪ 6-2 ▪ 231

Menomonee Falls, Wis. (Sussex Hamilton)

High School: Second-team All-Greater Metro Conference as a senior, rushing for 794 yards and a touchdown ... also played on defense as a senior ... honorable mention All-GMC as a sophomore, logging 652 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing plus 172 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving  ... played in only five games as a junior due to injury, recording 140 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns ... team captain as a senior ... state meet qualifier in track as a freshman ... coach was John Damato

Personal: Parents are Brad Kollath and Kristin Sobocinski ... mother played volleyball at Wisconsin from 1990-93 ... grandfather Phil Sobocinski played football for the Badgers from 1963-66 and went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL

Logan O’Brien

OL ▪ 6-5 ▪ 245

Fennimore, Wis. (Fennimore)

High School: Honorable mention all-state by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a senior ... first-team all-region by WFCA ... first-team All-Southwest Wisconsin Activities League as a junior and senior ... 2018 SWAL Offensive Lineman of the Year ... also played defense, recording 24 tackles, 8 TFLs and a forced fumble over his last two seasons ... two-year team captain ... also lettered in basketball, wrestling and track ... four-year high honor roll student ... National Honor Society ... member of student council ... coach was Jonah Roth

Personal: Parents are Racheal Loy and Justin O’Brien

Cam Phillips

WR ▪ 5-11 ▪ 180

San Francisco, Calif. (IMG Academy)

High School: Three-star recruit by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals ... wide receiver MVP of 2017 The Opening Cleveland Regional ... played first three seasons at Westerville (Ohio) Central, playing wide receiver, defensive back and punt returner ... missed senior season at IMG Academy due to injury ... four-year honor student ... National Honor Society ... coaches were Kevin Wright (IMG Academy) and John Magistro (Westerville Central)

Personal: Parents are Greg and Jamie Phillips ... mother competed in track and field at Ohio ... sister Brista Phillips played soccer at Illinois

Blake Wilcox

K ▪ 6-4 ▪ 205

Pewaukee, Wis. (Kettle Moraine)

High School: Five-star recruit by Kohl’s ... three-star recruit by ESPN … No. 3-ranked punter and No. 5-ranked kicker nationally by Kohl’s … selected for 2019 Under Armour All-America Game ... Kevin Stemke Award winner as state’s top senior kicker ... first-team all-state at both kicker and punter by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and Associated Press as a senior ... finished senior season 9-for-14 on field goals and with a 40.9-yard average on punts ... second-team all-state by AP and honorable mention all-state by WFCA at kicker as a junior, his first season playing football ... converted school-record 59-yard field goal as a junior ... two-time all-state defender in soccer, earning first-team honors from Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association as a senior ... Academic All-State selection ... coach was Justin Gumm

Personal: Parents are Mark and Sandi Wilcox

via Wisconsin Badgers press release

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