When Gary Andersen was the head football coach at Utah State, he had a knack for uncovering unheralded recruits and turning them into good players.
That's what he will try and do with cornerback Jakarrie Washington, from Everett, Mass., who gave an oral commitment to the Badgers on Thursday.
Washington, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, is a three-year starter who was named to the all-state team as a senior, yet he is not ranked by either of the two major recruiting websites, Rivals.com or Scout.com.
According to his high school coach, John DiBiaso, UW and Texas Tech were the two schools that expressed the most interest in Washington, who had no other offers.
The Badgers stumbled upon Washington when Mike Ruth, one of the assistant coaches at his high school, ran into some of the UW coaches at the Walter Camp dinner.
Secondary coach Bill Busch made an in-home visit and Washington jumped on the offer, without even visiting UW.
"Mike went down to the Walter Camp dinner recently and he spoke to people on Wisconsin's staff," DiBiaso told the Boston Herald website. "They've gotten a late start because it is a new staff, but they were interested in Jakarrie. They reached out last week and he made the commitment (Thursday) morning."
Washington has one of the things Andersen is known to covet — speed — reportedly running the 40-yard dash in the 4.4-second range.
The Badgers lose both starting cornerbacks and three senior starters overall in the secondary from last season's team and had been looking at some junior college players for possible immediate help in the back end.
Former Utah coach Ron McBride, who is one of Andersen's mentors, recently talked about the new UW coach's ability to develop players and used Utah State cornerback Will Davis as an example.
"He's developed a lot of players at Utah State," McBride said of Andersen. "They've taken guys that were maybe passed over and made them really good players, like (Davis). ... He came out of nowhere and he's really good."
Davis was listed as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com when he signed with Utah State out of junior college (De Anza College) prior to the 2011 season.
As a senior this past season, he made three All-American teams (third team or lower), becoming the first Utah State football player to be named an All-American on more than one team since 2007.
As a wide receiver, Washington caught 33 passes for 439 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He also rushed for 697 yards and 15 TDs on 75 carries.
On defense, he intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles, including one that he returned for a touchdown.
"It's absolutely awesome, we're absolutely thrilled," DiBiaso told the Herald. "They offered him (Thursday) and he accepted. We couldn't be happier for him."
UW announced that two members of the 2013 recruiting class had enrolled in classes this week and would be available for spring practices.
Both players are cornerbacks, Keelon Brookins, from St. Paul, Minn., (Tartan) and Sojourn Shelton, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., (Plantation).
Brookins, 5-11, 185, is a four-star recruit by Rivals, which ranks him No. 32 nationally at his position. He is a three-star recruit by ESPN and Scout. Despite a high school career limited to 12 games due to injuries, he had nine interceptions as a defensive back and scored seven touchdowns as a wide receiver. He was limited to three games as a senior due to a knee injury.
Shelton, 5-9, 175, is a four-star recruit by ESPN and a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout. As a senior, he returned three punts for touchdowns, to go with an interception, 16 pass breakups and 22 tackles.