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October 31, 2010A bye week couldn't slow down the momentum Bret Bielema and the Wisconsin Badgers were riding after huge back-to-back conference wins over Ohio State and Iowa.
The week began with 16 commitments in Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class. It ended with 18, the most recent coming from two of the top defensive ends in the Midwest.
"I just thought about the whole recruiting process and why I wanted to go to Wisconsin," said Jesse Hayes, who gave his verbal to UW Sunday evening. "It came down to the coaches and the family atmosphere from top to bottom. There was really no other school that compared to Wisconsin for me, so I felt comfortable making the decision.
"It feels pretty good and I'm just happy to be a Badger. It feels great."
James Adeyanju, who actually committed to the Badgers on Tuesday but made the news public Saturday, echoed Hayes' comments.
"Really it was just everything about Wisconsin," said the Illinois native. "Wisconsin just seems like it's the best all around fit for me both athletically and academically. I had a great official visit to Wisconsin and the official visit just really sold me on the Badgers and I felt like Wisconsin was where I belonged.
"I had great chemistry with the players and the coaches and I felt very at home and very comfortable around everyone. I know that I can go to Wisconsin and be successful on and off the field. The football program these days is playing great football and it's exciting to be a part of that program next year."
The two three-star prospects likely fill UW's need at defensive end and bring the coaching staff up to one or two remaining scholarships in the current class.
"Coach (Joe) Rudolph actually said I was one of the last recruits they would be able to take," Hayes said. "If I wasn't the last, he said they were still looking at one or two guys."
With just 12 scholarship seniors set to graduate at the end of the academic year - Zach Brown is planning to redshirt - Wisconsin is certainly running thin and banking on attrition during the off-season. That usually comes in the form of transfers, but the Badgers could also lose J.J. Watt, John Clay and Nick Toon, all juniors, to the NFL.
As for the prospects still remaining on Wisconsin's board, it appears room would certainly be make for quarterback Jacoby Brissett and his prep teammate Nick O'Leary, the top tight end in the nation. Both took official visits when the Badgers defeated the Buckeyes at Camp Randall.
Furthermore, UW is without a defensive tackle in the current class but does have Brandon King scheduled for an official visit in two weeks when Indiana comes to Madison. Spencer Region, an offensive guard from Alabama, is also planning to take an official visit in December.
All things the head coach has to balance before Signing Day in February.
"The thing that's probably jumped out the last two weeks is the exposure that we've gotten and the amount of people that want to jump in our boat," Bielema said Monday. "You always want more scholarships, but since I've been here, this is probably going to be the least number of kids we can sign, and it comes on a year when you got a lot of kids that maybe want to hop in your boat. So it's one of those things you just got to work through."