River Rouge safety Reggie Pearson Jr. was the first player from the state of Michigan to commit to Wisconsin’s 2018 recruiting class, and several others have followed.
The Badgers and coach Paul Chryst are building a pipeline into the state, and that includes U-D Jesuit safety Scott Nelson, who is making his way to Madison to play for Wisconsin this fall.
Pearson, a three-star prospect, committed to Wisconsin last August. Then, Milan three-star offensive tackle Michael Furtney decided he wanted to play for the Badgers and committed in March, followed by Gibraltar Carlson three-star receiver/athlete Jaylan Franklin committing on June 12.
All three are rated among the top 20 players in the state for the 2018 class in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Still, there were more to come with West Bloomfield three-star receiver Taj Mustapha committing on June 22 and Mustapha’s teammate, receiver A.J. Abbott, a day later. Both were offered by Michigan State, as was Furtney and Franklin.
“The coaching staff, the coaches, are probably the most genuine guys in football history,” Pearson said. “Those guys are just great people, period, and the town is amazing. Really, it was just a great fit for me.”
Pearson said that after committing, he did a little recruiting of the other Michigan players.
“I don’t know if I helped, but I did my best to convince them to come,” Pearson said.
Abbott was thrilled with his decision, saying: “It’s the perfect fit for me. My teammate Taj and I are going together. We’re good friends and we’ve created a bond. We’re looking forward to it.”
Pearson and Abbott both earned spots on The Detroit News’ All-West team last fall when Pearson had 120 tackles, seven interceptions and six pass breakups. Abbott showed his big-play ability by coming up with 46 receptions for 906 yards and six touchdowns to help Northville reach the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Kensington Conference championship game. He transferred to West Bloomfield in the winter.
Furtney earned a spot on The Detroit News’ Division 3-4 all-state first team, while Mustapha was a second-team All-North performer.
Nelson is getting in one year ahead of the 2018 recruits and he too had high praise for the Wisconsin coaching staff.
“They have everything I needed, everything I wanted, and the people there were the type of people I want to be around,” Nelson said after being named the No. 14 player on The Detroit News’ Blue Chip list for 2017.
“They have a great program that’s been successful. They have a great AD (Barry Alvarez) and they have a great coaching staff. They also have great academics and have a great campus and social life.”
Joe Rudolph is the associate head coach and offensive coordinator for Wisconsin. He was captain of the Badgers when they won Big Ten and Rose Bowl titles under Alvarez in 1993, then was tight ends coach from 2008-11 when they won two more Big Ten titles.
Wisconsin 2018 commits from Michigan
All rankings by Scout.com.
■ A.J. Abbott, WR (6-2, 180), West Bloomfield, two stars (unranked)
■ Jaylan Franklin, ATH (6-4, 200), Gibraltar Carlson, three stars (No. 26 ATH nationally)
■ Michael Furtney, OT (6-5, 280), Milan, three stars (No. 38 OT nationally)
■ Taj Mustapha, WR (6-1, 185), West Bloomfield, three stars (No. 94 WR nationally)
■ Reggie Pearson Jr., S (5-10, 188), River Rouge, three stars (No. 36 S nationally)