The postseason is a common landing spot for the Wisconsin football and men's basketball teams.
The Badgers have reached nine straight bowl games under former head football coach Barry Alvarez and his successor Bret Bielema, who took over in 2006. Wisconsin downed Miami in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl.
The last nine years have been equally successful for basketball coach Bo Ryan, who has led the Badgers to the NCAA Tournament every year of his tenure while capturing two Big Ten tournament crowns.
As good as these programs have been, there is one place you’ll rarely see either - at the top of team recruiting rankings.
Wisconsin has etched a superb reputation in each sport despite landing recruiting classes that often lack marquee, household names.
Ryan has landed only one player in the MaxPreps Top 100 over the last two seasons: forward Mike Bruesewitz
That’s one more Top 100 recruit than the Badgers have secured in football.
Things could be changing in Madison, however, as the Badgers are wooing high-profile targets in both sports.
One player Ryan already has a bulls-eye on is J.P. Tokoto
, a 2012 in-state prize.
A MaxPreps sophomore All-American
, Tokoto averaged 18.6 points in leading Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, Wis.)
to a 21-4 record. He has offers from teams across the country and is one of the more dominant wing players in his class.
Wisconsin recently gained a commitment from Tokoto’s summertime teammate Sam Dekker
, a 6-foot-8 forward who ended the recruiting process early.
“It all happened real quick," Dekker told MaxPreps National Basketball Editor Jason Hickman. "I had offers from some mid-major schools and Northern Iowa. I went to their camp and I knew that coach (Ryan) was looking at me but I didn’t think they were really, really watching me."
Badgers fans are hopeful Dekker can help sell Tokoto on the idea of joining him in Madison.
Meanwhile, Bielema has his own big fish to fry in an attempt to land another sensational running back.
Wisconsin has had a run of great backs in recent years, usually of the larger variety.
Ron Dayne won the Heisman during his senior year in 1999, and paved the way for other powerful rushers for the Badgers including P.J. Hill, John Clay, and Montee Ball, a sophomore who spurned offers from numerous Big Ten and Big 12 schools to attend Wisconsin.
Ball rushed for 394 yards as a freshman backing up Clay, who picked up 1,548.
With a reputation for its prodigious running game, the Badgers have their sights set firmly on 2011 recruit Savon Huggins
, a incoming senior at St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.)
The 6-foot, 190-pounder has the size of a power back, but can’t simply be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional rusher. He boasts speed, quick feet and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Huggins recently visited Madison, and the Badgers made his 10 finalist, beating out recruiting powerhouses like USC and Alabama.
Bielema and staff have made a point to look nationally after locking up their local targets. In each of their last two recruiting classes, they’ve signed a player from national prep power St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
, which annually boasts a bastion of national-caliber talent.
Tokoto and Huggins would be enough to boost Wisconsin’s basketball and football programs, respectively. Even if the Badgers come up short, however, they likely will only be affected in the recruiting rankings - not the standings.