- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Wisconsin has done a terrific job in-state with this recruiting class, as the Badgers earned verbal commitments from four of the state's top six prospects. But new head coach Gary Andersen could have a battle on his hands for the state's top-ranked player, four-star defensive end Alec James (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield East).
While James still considers himself a Wisconsin commit, he will take visits between now and signing day. While he isn't sure how many he will take and when he will take them, he said trips to Clemson, Florida State, Michigan State and Oregon could all happen. The only one that will definitely happen is the Oregon visit, as James will see the Ducks on Jan. 11.
Wisconsin still seems to have the inside track, however, and an early phone call from Andersen kept them there.
"It's an honor," James said of receiving one of the first recruiting calls -- along with friend and fellow commit Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central) -- from the new coach. "It shows he watches us and recognizes what we do."
James said he is most looking forward to meeting with Andersen during an in-home visit that he believes will happen next week.
"The biggest thing for me will be meeting him in person," James said. "I like to see people face to face and see how they act. That's a big thing for me."
James also said his familiarity with Wisconsin also has the Badgers out front.
"I can picture myself being there as a student and an athlete," he said. "If I got hurt and couldn't play, I could picture myself being there as a regular student."
Obasih spent plenty of time with James during Monday's practice for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, but Obasih knows how to handle his recruiting duties. He said he wouldn't spend any time talking to James about recruiting during this week.
"I don't want to pressure him," Obasih said. "He knows where he wants to be. I'm not going to be the person who is going to drive him away."