Your Teams.
All Sources.

Build your feed

© 2024 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Scott Procter Scott Procter BVM Sports Senior Editor/Journalist
Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell in best position of new coaching hires

Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell in best position of new coaching hires

MADISON, Wis. (BVM) – Deion Sanders (Colorado), Matt Rhule (Nebraska) and Hugh Freeze (Auburn) are a few notable college football coaches who will lead new programs to battle in 2023.

Luke Fickell is also in that group of new head coaches in new places after Wisconsin hired the former Cincinnati head coach to replace Paul Chryst. One of the hottest names in college coaching searches for the past two years – having received head coaching interest from Michigan State, Florida State, West Virginia, Louisville and Maryland before the 2020 season – Fickell arrives in Madison after the Badgers went just 6-6 this season.

The up-and-down 2022 season saw Chryst fired in October after a 2-3 start before interim head coach Jim Leonhard took over. It was the third consecutive year that Wisconsin had been ranked in the preseason only to finish outside of the polls at season’s end.

But although Sanders might be a bigger name and Freeze might have landed at a more blue-chip program, Fickell is in the best position to succeed among new college football coaches.

“Right now, I would favor Fickell because Wisconsin is more established (than other programs with new head coaches),” BVM Sports College Football Analyst Brad Edwards said. “I always feel like the Big Ten West is wide open because nobody in that division recruits at a really high level. I think you have a bunch of teams that are really similar to each other in talent.”

There is certainly opportunity for Fickell to come in right away and lead the Badgers to a Big Ten West title after Purdue won it this season at just 8-5 (6-3). The problem is that opportunity has been present for some time now.

The difference must come in the form of recruiting where Fickell has shown to be one of the best in the country. In fact, Fickell is already showing his recruiting chops at Wisconsin after only being on the job for two months.

The interim head coach at Ohio State in 2011, Fickell spent 15 years on the Buckeyes’ staff before becoming Cincinnati’s head coach in 2016 where he built a strong resume. Fickell spent six seasons with the Bearcats which ended with a 57-18 record (2-2 in bowl games) and the program’s first College Football Playoff appearance in 2021.

“If you can get the right guys in from the transfer portal, especially if you can get the quarterback in that division, there’s not a lot of high-flying offenses there and it’s probably why Purdue came out on top this year,” Edwards said.

The quarterback position will be key for Fickell and the Badgers after Graham Mertz’s decision to enter the transfer portal following a disappointing tenure in Madison.

Nick Evers could be the answer as the former four-star 2022 quarterback committed to Wisconsin on Saturday after transferring from Oklahoma. The former Sooner threw just one pass this season before entering the transfer portal and comes to Madison with four years of eligibility remaining.

Evers joins Myles Burkett and Cole LaCrue as the only quarterbacks currently under scholarship for the Badgers in 2023.

In addition to landing Evers, Fickell flipped three-star cornerback Jonas Duclona and four-star safety Braedyn Moore to Wisconsin on Dec. 12. Both recruits were initially committed to Cincinnati but decommitted following the news of Fickell moving on to the Badgers.

While most eyes will be on Sanders in Colorado or even Freeze at Auburn, Fickell has the best opportunity to return his new team to relevancy. 

Top Leagues

No results found.