Luke Fickell makes it clear how the Wisconsin Badgers recruit
Wisconsin Badgers’ new head coach Luke Fickell is already feeling the heat from a rival before coaching his first game in Madison. Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck recently called Fickell out. The early signing period for commits happened this week. Fleck accused Fickell and the Badgers of negatively recruiting a Minnesota commit.
Former Badgers greats like Joe Thomas think the alllegations are ridiculous. After all, Wisconsin is trying to do bigger things than beat Minnesota. They want to win Big Ten championships and go to the Rose Bowl. Multiple playoff runs aren’t out of the question when the College Football Playoff expands in a few years. That’s why the Badgers hired a coach with playoff experience. And he isn’t planning on negative recruiting.
Fickell explains what he won’t do
Recruiting in college football is a hard business. Players can leave in an instant with the transfer portal. When coaches leave for a new job, players often follow. Commits often flip after pledging to go to a school for months. There’s not a lot of honesty amongst coaches and players in today’s landscape of college athletics.
Fickell was navigating those waters this season. When he left from Cincinnati, he recruited Bearcats players and Bearcats recruits to come to Wisconsin. After hearing Fleck’s accusations, Fickell explained what he won’t (note: not what he hadn’t done or wouldn’t do) do when it comes to recruiting.
According to Jesse Temple with The Athletic, Fickell said he’s not in the business of negative recruiting. But hinted his staff was aggressive on going after recruits who might have committed before signing their NLI.
“I know nothing about it. And I won’t negative recruit. I’m not saying that somebody didn’t call. I know we maybe reached out to somebody. But I wouldn’t think that we would’ve said anything negative about a guy going anywhere.”
Luke Fickell's response to P.J. Fleck's claim: "I know nothing about it. And I won’t negative recruit. I’m not saying that somebody didn’t call. I know we maybe reached out to somebody. But I wouldn’t think that we would’ve said anything negative about a guy going anywhere."— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) December 21, 2022
How much Fickell actually knows is something that’s unclear as of now. Fleck hasn’t released those text messages yet. Until he does, we’ll take Fickell at his word that to his knowledge the Badgers recruiting methods were on the up and up. After all, he was busy taking in a pretty good class for 2023.