Simple Choices

Wanting only two scholarship offers to make his summer worthwhile, Princeton High School's Jeff Duckworth got offers from Indiana and Wisconsin to play college football. With the prospects of playing in a big-time bowl game and competing for championships year after year, Duckworth's college decision, in his eyes, was a simple one.

When the summer started, wide receiver Jeff Duckworth's goals were simple: get a scholarship offer from both Indiana and Wisconsin.

When the Badgers and the Hoosiers were the only two schools that offered Duckworth, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound wide receiver next choice was even simpler: play college football at either Bloomington or Madison.

After a two-day visit to Madison this past Sunday and Monday to see the campus and Wisconsin's first-class facility, Duckworth was ready to be a Badger and gave Wisconsin its 11th verbal commitment for the class of 2009 and first commitment by a wide receiver.

"It really just came down to Wisconsin having that tradition of playing in a big-time bowl game and competing for a Big Ten title every year," Duckworth told Badger Nation. "Indiana was my number one until I really started thinking about Wisconsin and the opportunity they give up there. I really got that comfort around all the people and the coaches. I was treated like I was at home."

With the numbers Duckworth put up at Cincinnati's Princeton High School, the Badgers are lucky to have Duckworth call Wisconsin his new home. For a receiving core that is currently looking for playmakers, Duckworth caught 62 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns during his junior year and has set his sights for even higher goals this season.

"Those numbers are what I wanted to get: double my numbers from my sophomore year," Duckworth said. "Hopefully this year we can keep on winning and I can break some receiving records from my school. I have set my goals kind of high, wanting to break the record for catches (85) and yards (around 1,200)."

With Duckworth putting up solid numbers for his high school, his recruiting began to pick up. Already receiving a scholarship offer from Indiana and hometown Cincinnati not showing much interest, Wisconsin began to step into the picture.

"Coach Rudolph came in and talked to me during the spring and told me that I would have to come to camp to earn a scholarship," Duckworth said. "I came up to Madison and performed well enough for them to offer me. I wanted to go up there (Madison) because I had only one offer (Indiana) and I will still looking to where I wanted to go."

Duckworth came up to Wisconsin's summer camp and worked out well enough to earn a scholarship offer. While contemplating his scholarship offer, good friend Brian Wozniak (Loveland H.S.) committed to Wisconsin's 2009 class as a tight end. With both of them going to camp together, both Duckworth and Wozniak will now be suiting up in college together.

"I've known him since we started playing AAU basketball together in fourth grade," Duckworth said of Wozniak. "I have known him forever. Once he committed, it made me feel a little better that I wouldn't be the only Ohio kid up there from Cincinnati if I committed. I am real excited that we're going to be in the same class. We'll probably room together and get even closer."

With his recruitment now behind him, Duckworth brings a solid skill set that will give Wisconsin another solid option at wide receiver. Wanting to play in the Big Ten since he was young, Duckworth will now get the chance at Wisconsin.

"I am a pure receiver," he said. "I run real good routes that when you need a first down, you can just give me the ball. I like to be more physical than the cornerback, which excites me about the Big Ten. I've grown up watching the Big Ten and that's all I have ever wanted to play."

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