Wisconsin football loses a pair of 2023 commitments – Sports Illustrated

After finally landing a quarterback commit in the 2023 recruiting class on November 7, the Wisconsin Badgers football program lost a pair of commitments on Thursday. 
With uncertainty still in the air around Wisconsin's head coaching vacancy, defensive tackle Jamel Howard and wide receiver Collin Dixon each opted to open back up their recruitments. 
Howard started the day of decommitments by taking to social media to announce his decision, saying the following:
"My passion has always been football…I have worked my entire life to become the best player and teammate I can be. However, after lots of thought and prayer, and speaking to my head coach and parents, I have decided to decommit from the University of Wisconsin. I want to thank all the coaches, staff, and players for believing in me and giving me a chance to be a part of a team with such a great history. Wisconsin will remain one of my top choices as I reopen my recruitment." 
The 6-foot-3 defensive tackle out of Chicago is rated as a three-star recruit and originally committed to the Badgers in June over other scholarship offers from Akron, Ball State, Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa State, Kent State, Miami (OH), Toledo, and Western Michigan.
From Marist High School, Howard has added additional scholarship offers from Michigan and Nebraska in recent weeks, partially leading to his choice to reopen his recruitment. The 320-pound nose tackle is expected to take an unofficial visit to Michigan this weekend, and his loss is substantial considering the importance of a nose tackle in Wisconsin's base 3-4 defense.
Also opting to step away from his commitment was wide receiver, Collin Dixon. The 6-foot-2 athlete out of Ohio also joined Wisconsin's 2023 recruiting class in June but put together a huge senior season with 88 receptions for 1493 yards and 19 touchdowns in 12 games for Tallmadge High School. 
Dixon announced his decommitment on Twitter just an hour after Howard, saying:
"I want to thank Coach Whitted, Coach Leonhard, and the entire staff at Wisconsin for giving me the opportunity to play football at the next level. I'm extremely grateful for the relationships I have built and their continuous belief in my abilities. With that being said, after many discussions with family, I have decided to decommit from Wisconsin and open my recruitment back up."
Rated as a three-star recruit, Dixon also holds scholarship offers from Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Duke, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, Marshall, Miami (OH), Pittsburgh, Purdue,
Dixon is the second wide receiver recruit to decommit for Wisconsin in the 2023 recruiting class, joining former commit Trech Kekahuna who walked away from his pledge two weeks ago. Like Howard and Dixon, Kekahuna is still considering the Badgers as UW administrators mull the future at head coach.
As a result, Wisconsin is without a wide receiver committed in the 2023 cycle and is now down to only 11 scholarship members in the class.
Since the firing of former head coach Paul Chryst, several players within the class have added new scholarship opportunities. Offensive lineman Christopher Terek earned an offer from Notre Dame, while defensive lineman Trey Pierce will take an official visit to Michigan this weekend after landing offers from Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, and Texas. Of the current commits, Pierce is a key name to monitor given after he took an unofficial visit to Michigan just a couple of weeks ago, and he is the lone defensive line commit in the class now with Howard gone.
It is hard to fault Howard and Dixon for exploring all options available with interim head coach Jim Leonhard's status still up in the air. While most believe he will eventually earn the full-time role, the early signing period is roughly a month away.
With just 11 scholarship players remaining and open spots still available in the class, it will be interesting to see what the staff does over the next month. Wisconsin has three-star defensive back Kahlil Ali set to come for an official visit for the Minnesota game and also recently offered another three-star defensive lineman in the cycle following Howard's decommitment. 
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