March 21, 2010

Badgers pick up a linebacker

Wisconsin has picked up their first commitment from the Class of 2011, and it happens to be a big one.

Jake Keefer, a member of the Rivals250 to Watch for 2011 and one of the top junior prospects in Wisconsin, has committed to play for the Badgers.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect from Baldwin (Wisc.) Baldwin-Woodville made his decision over the weekend and doesn't plan on looking back.

"Yep, that is correct," Keefer confirmed. "I committed on Saturday. I went to spring practice at Wisconsin on Thursday and Friday and I just loved it. I kind of knew I was getting close to committing. I just felt at home and really loved the coaches. I think the program is heading in the right direction. It's always been a dream of mine since I was little to play for the Badgers."

Keefer said Wisconsin offered him close to the beginning of his junior season so he has had a while to think about what he wants to do. He had other options as well.

"I just got back from Notre Dame's junior day on Saturday and that was really cool. They have really good facilities but I just didn't feel the same connection with their coaching staff that I felt with Wisconsin's. There were some other schools, like Minnesota, who had offered.

"There were some others that were showing interest, like LSU. I was getting letters from USC and UCLA. Those are some pretty big schools, but I just felt at home at Wisconsin. I wanted to play for my home state and support Wisconsin."

Don't expect Keefer to go back on his decision. Though other schools will almost certainly come to ask him to reconsider down the road, Keefer believes he has made the right choice.

"I'd call it a solid commitment," he said. "I got kind of sick of coming home and hearing my dad say, 'You've got to call this coach.' I knew in my heart that Wisconsin is where I wanted to be so I figured it was time to do it."

Wisconsin recruited Keefer to play middle linebacker, the position he plays on defense in high school. He isn't sure of how many tackles he recorded last fall but said the number was high. He also returned a couple of interceptions for touchdowns.

Keefer also lines up on offense for his high school, and has spent time at tight end and running back.

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