March 12, 2008

Badger recruits up at the crack of dawn

While spring camp serves as a platform for current Badger players to learn and improve their skills football field, it also gives the coaching staff an opportunity to showcase their program.

With two practices already in the books, new recruiting coordinator Randall McCray has hosted two known 2009 prospects in a four-say span, Patrick Ward on Saturday and Jake Knott on Tuesday.

Knott, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound outside linebacker from Waukee, Iowa, was in attendance with his mother during Wisconsin's 6:30 a.m. practice earlier this week.

"I went up there the other day and watched spring practice," Knott said. "They took me around and showed me a tour of the facilities. I was able to speak with defensive coordinator and the head coach.

"It was really nice. Zach Davison, a Badger commitment from my school, always talks about it. It definitely lived up to what he's said about it."

Davison, who is expected on campus this summer, could convince his former teammate to join him in Wisconsin in 2009.

"Zach and I are really good friends," said Knott, who is being recruited by Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Purdue and Vanderbilt, all of whom invited him to their spring games. "We work out together almost everyday, we definitely push each other in the weight room and on the football field.

"He's been telling me a lot of really good things about Wisconsin. He was actually going to come up with me to the spring practice but he had to leave early on a spring break trip. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make it up there."

Though he said he does not have a specific recruiting coach at the moment, Knott is in contact most often with McCray. And while doesn't hold any offers at this point, he does expect them to come in the following months.

"A lot of those schools said if I attend their camp I'll get an offer," he said. "Some of them even said their working on an offer right now."

After his visit, Knott said the UW staff likes him at outside linebacker, though he has the ability to play tight end, as well.

"The coaches at Wisconsin like me at outside linebacker," he said. "Some other schools are projecting me at strong safety and even tight end. I think open field tackling is one of my strongest points, as well as finding a way to get to the ball."

Knott, who grew up in Kansas City and moved to Iowa three years ago, plans on attending a handful of camps, trying to fit them around his baseball his schedule.

"Well, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to balance it around my baseball schedule because I play baseball in the summer," Knott said. "But, I plan on making it to Wisconsin, Iowa, Iowa State, Purdue and Kansas State. Maybe some other ones if I have the time."

Wisconsin already has three verbal commitments in the 2009 class: Jordan Kohout, Selby Harris and Ryan Groy.

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