Rankings are well underway here at PrepRedzoneWI, with the 2021’s updated, the 2023’s updated, 2022’s underway, and the 2024’s set to be introduced this week. With the updates come the always exciting rankings content, and as a wise man at Prep Network once told me: "if we are McDonalds, rankings content is our Big Mac." This 2023 update saw the rankings update from 66 total players to 130 ranked plus a 38 member watchlist, a refurbished Top-25, and a new look Top-5. Some things do stay the same though, like our #1 overall athlete David GaudermanDavidGauderman6'2" | DLWittenberg-Birnamwood | 2023StateWI
of Wittenberg-Birnamwood retaining the top spot, so we wanted to take an in-depth look at the update for our readers and start off by introducing some of our highest debuts of preps featured in the rankings. Although things are different this year due to a large part of the state not having their football season in the Fall, so I just wanted to reemphasize that these rankings are in no set in stone and we will of course be doing another update once the Spring season hopefully concludes. Without further ado let’s get into some of the athletes made some of the highest debuts from this most recent update. Thanks for reading!
#3: Zander RockowZanderRockow6'1" | RBEau Claire Regis | 2023StateWI
(Eau Claire Regis) RB/LB. 6’, 220 lbs. A small-school talent with absurd versatility and upside for his age, Rockow’s combination of size, speed, experience, and athleticism made him too hard to ignore for the Top-3. Although he primarily plays RB for Regis, it’s a pretty good bet that he will play LB at the next level, and after he measured in at a legit 6’, 215 at the PrepRedzoneWI Showcase earlier this Winter and tested off the charts with a 4.6 40 and a 4.5 and a 4.31 in the short shuttle, it’s getting really hard to deny that he has FBS potential. I’m excited to see where his recruitment takes him.
#5: Andrew TrandahlAndrewTrandahl5'8" | ATHNew Richmond | 2023StateWI
(New Richmond) RB/SS. 5’8, 180 lbs. A player I became aware of after his teammates tagged him on Twitter for me and gave him a shoutout as a kid to watch, Trandahl blew me away with his weight room numbers (14 reps at 225 in the bench press, 500 lb. squat) as an underclassman and backed it up on tape with some explosive runs and crushing tackles. He’s able to bust out long runs while beating defenders with either speed or power, and can also run the alley and really lay the wood as a SS. It’s that dynamic ability that led me to rank him as an athlete, and if he keeps growing I think he’s going to be a really complete SS prospect at the next level.
#6: Nate KollathNateKollath6'3" | QBSussex Hamilton | 2023StateWI
(Sussex Hamilton) QB. 6’3, 200 lbs. The Sussex Hamilton Chargers gunslinger caught my eye after I got to see him play against Baraboo this Fall, and he looked and played well above his age and was a calm and collected presence in the pocket. He has great size at the position and throws a strong ball with accuracy in his deep, intermediate, or shorter routes. He can also move and scramble in the pocket and elongate plays with his legs while keeping his eyes downfield. The Hamilton coaching staff let their offense open up a little in the passing game, so I think Kollath is overall a promising and well-rounded 2023 QB prospect.
#10: Will McDonaldWillMcDonald6'4" | DLHudson | 2023StateWI
(Hudson) DL. 6’4, 215 lbs. The defensive line position group was probably the most loaded of the entire 2023 update, and had a ton of talent particularly packed into the Top-25 of the class. It came down to a tough decision, but Hudson’s 6’4, 215 lber. Will McDonaldWillMcDonald6'4" | DLHudson | 2023StateWI
ended up earning the #1 DL spot. The longer I scout and cover the state of Wisconsin for PrepRedzone, the more I have become a fan of the Hudson Raiders program and the recruits it produces. Hudson had depth, strength, and talent in their DL room this year, but the sophomore McDonald still found a way to earn himself a starting nod as an underclassman. His length, get-off, and independent yet efficient hand-fighting/pass-rush moves really caught my attention. He comes out of his stance with some pop (although he stays a little too upright), and has a great chop and rip that helps him get around lineman before they really know what happened. If he can continue to add weight he’s going to be an incredibly dominant DE in both the run and pass games.
#13: August MaurerAugustMaurer6'4" | DLHortonville | 2023StateWI
(Hortonville) DL. 6’4, 205 lbs. Another high-upside defensive lineman prospect, I was told about Maurer from Hortonville’s Co-DC Wyatt Jentz at our PrepRedzoneWI Showcase, and immediately watched his film when I got home. The sophomore posted five sacks in eight games this past Fall and showed off some nice lateral quickness and an ability to execute and finish twists and stunts. He plays the opposing lineman’s hands well, shows a good rip, is twitchy for a kid of his size who is still growing into his body, and hits hard at the point of contact. He’s got to keep adding weight but has a lot of upside as a pass-rusher.
14: Luke GermanLukeGerman6'1" | DLSlinger | 2023StateWI
(Slinger) DL. 6’1, 260 lbs. The biggest of the top defensive lineman who found themselves ranked this past update, German looks to continue the impressive talent that the Slinger Owls have been pumping out lately. He reports to bench 360 pounds, squats 480, and dead lifts 500. He eats up doubles for breakfast, has some of the most violent hands of anyone on this list, and is a high-energy, high-effort tackler who flies around and is light on his feet for a kid of his size. He’s a great athlete for his size as well and can play either OL or DL, although I do think he projects better at the iDL positions.
#15: Sam CoufalSamCoufal6'2" | DLKettle Moraine | 2023StateWI
(Kettle Moraine) DL. 6’2, 230 lbs. Kettle Moraine is loaded in their 2022 and 2023 classes, and Coufal fits into that mold as he is coming off a 2020 season that saw him receive All-Conference HM nods at both the OL and DL. He has impressive power in his pads and was a wrecking ball of a lead-blocker when playing offense, and is a nimble 230 lber. who can tackle in the open field and keep himself in uncompromising body positions. He’s also got a strong lower body who can eat cut blocks, the speed to pursue ball-carriers down the LOS, and the strength to beat double-teams if need be.
#16: Mason DesrudeMasonDesrude6'2" | DLNicolet | 2023StateWI
(Nicolet) DL. 6’2, 210 lbs. The last of the highest rated debuts of the DL position, Desrude is the smallest of the ranked defensive lineman but has one of the most refined pass-rushing skill-set with a variety of pass-rush moves and an ability to string together multiple moves and/or counter the opposing OL. I love how he uses his hands and hope he continues to work on his craft and his body.
#17: Brandt RiceBrandtRice6'4" | TEWausau West | 2023StateWI
(Wausau West) TE. 6’4, 240 lbs. A massive sophomore TE prospect who can line up as an inline TE or a HB, Rice is a crushing run-blocker with a powerful initial punch, inside hand-placement, and good effort and leg drive. With a long, lean frame he's got the makings of a really powerful and dominant traditional TE recruit.
#19: Thomas BatesThomasBates5'11" | RBNewman Catholic | 2023StateWI
(Newman Catholic) RB. 5’11, 180 lbs. The highest rated 8-player prospect on the list, Bates is a promising and explosive playmaker who busted off a ton of big runs this past season and is an intriguing blend of speed and power. Also an attendee of our inaugural PrepRedzoneWI Showcase, Bates is well built in-person and is a quick prospect who also has the burners to take off if he gets the edge, and the strength in his lower-body to run through weaker tackle attempts. I think he has the potential to be the top 8-player prospect in Wisconsin these next two years.
#21: Wynn StangWynnStangRBMukwonago | 2023StateWI
(Mukwonago) RB. A couple words come to mind when watching Stang's tape & evaluating him as a prospect. 1) Power. 2) Truckstick. His tape was one of the most exciting of anyone I watched for the update, as multiple defenders found themselves flat on their butts after the Mukwonago running-back laid his pads into them in 2020. He's a true power back with a strong upper and lower body who can wear down a defense throughout the course of a 60 minute ball game. Seriously, watch at least the first two plays of his sophomore tape if you haven't gotten the chance.
#22: Maliq CrawfordMaliqCrawford5'11" | ATHBrookfield Academy | 2023StateWI
(Brookfield Academy) ATH. 5’11, 165 lbs. A versatile and dynamic athlete on the football field, Crawford is also an accomplished hooper and shows off that athleticism on the gridiron, where he lines up on the outside, in the slot, in the backfield, and in the defensive backfield as well. He's tremendous with the ball in his hands and is very elusive as he's got quick feet, good vision, and a strong stiff-arm. Great all-around athlete.
#23: Justin SurmaJustinSurmaLBCatholic Memorial | 2023StateWI
(Catholic Memorial) LB. I really wish that Surma had his Hudl profile updated. However, I scoured the Twitter machine enough to find out that Surma was recently named a First Team All-Parkland Conference as an OLB, along with two seniors. As far as I know, he's one of the very few preps to get a First Team All-Conference nod on this list.
#24: Matthew MillerMatthewMiller6'1" | LBFall River | 2023StateWI
(Fall River) LB. 6’1, 185 lbs. Absolutely destroyed a kid on the first play of his Hudl with one of the hardest hits I saw from any 2023 Wisconsin prep. It came on an attempted onside recovery, and Miller completely smoked the kid trying to field the ball. He's one of the most physical players on the list, with no hesitation to whack ya and a natural talent at doing it too. He's got a lot of power in his 185 lb. frame and knows how to use it. He's got some really impressive range as a LB and explodes through the LOS when he diagnoses runs. He's also a natural at covering receivers in the passing game, and shows great zone drops and an ability to read the QBs eyes. All in all he's a complete three-down LB and if he can keep adding weight should find himself playing some high level college football in the future.
#25: Jaden SharkeyJadenSharkey6'5" | DLUnion Grove | 2023StateWI
(Union Grove) DT. 6’5, 340 lbs. The most massive human on this list, Sharkey is a part of a talented 2022 and 2023 crop of talent at Union Grove of the Greater Milwaukee conference. Although he is obviously giant and powerful on film, Sharkey was particularly impressive at our recent PrepRedzoenMN Showcase, where he was basically unblockable 1-on-1 and displayed some pretty light feet and an impressive ability to move for a kid of his size. He plays low and has a ton of power in his frame, and if he can get his weight down to a more moveable size he's going to be the hardest DL to block in the state.
#26: Ben OttoBenOtto5'11" | LBBrookfield Central | 2023StateWI
(Brookfield Central) LB. 5’11, 185 lbs. Well-built OLB who is excellent at setting the edge and is a good tackler. He does a good job of disengaging from blockers and has a good frame to continue adding weight.
#27: Noah HofmannNoahHofmann5'10" | RBKaukauna | 2023StateWI
(Kaukauna) RB. 5’10, 170 lbs. The brother of stud 2021 RB Hank, younger bro Noah is coming off a 2020 season that saw him score eight TDs and post almost 400 all-purpose yards. A threat to score as both a runner and a receiver, he displays a really impressive contact balance and has a strong lower-body and some really shifty moves in the open field. I love his ability to break tackles through various means and the overall strength he has in his frame. He's going to be a really fun one to watch going forward.
#29: Ben BuxaBenBuxa6'3" | DLLakeside Lutheran | 2023StateWI
(Lakeside Lutheran) DL. 6’3, 255 lbs. The only All-Region pick on the list, Buxa overwhelms both blockers and ball-carriers in the run game and is very hard to move out of his gap. He plays with great leverage and is an experienced lineman with a lot of good football in front of him,
#31: Evan VanDyn HovenEvanVanDyn Hoven6'2" | WRMenasha | 2023StateWI
(Menasha) WR/LB. 6’2, 205 lbs. Massive prospect with a lot of strength and power for an underclassman who looked hard to block 1-on-1 and uses his big frame and impressive hops to make it difficult for opposing coaching staffs to contain him. He can do a lot of different things on the football field, and do them well. I like his potential as a LB but he's got a lot of impressive tools as a big-bodied wideout as well.