Wisconsin LB/TE Hearing From Illinois

The Midwest has produced talented linebackers over the years. More recently, J Leman, James Laurinaitis, and Greg Jones have made a tremendous impact of the field. Jake Keefer is hoping to leave a legacy of his own.

Baldwin-Woodville High School's Jake Keefer is already off to a successful start in his recruitment.

"I have offers from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Washington State. I actually just got off the phone with my Notre Dame coach. They've been interested. My coach and I have been sending out film for the past few weeks. We've been hearing from some schools as a result."

One school the Wisconsin native has been hearing from is Illinois.

"I haven't talked to any of the Illinois coaches, but they are interested."

Although he played both tight end and middle linebacker for his team last season, the three schools he currently holds offers from are recruiting him at the same position.

"The three offers so far like me on the defensive side of the ball, either as the MLB or an OLB. I like the defensive side of the ball. My dad was a linebacker, and I like hitting people. I like trying to knock people out."

Keefer has taken some junior day visits.

"I've been to Wisconsin's junior day and Iowa's junior day. They both went pretty well."

The Wisconsin offer was particularly special for Keefer.

"I've grown up a Wisconsin Badger fan ever since I was little. My family has been rooting for them as long as I can remember. Wisconsin is pretty high on my list, but I'm keeping my options open and see what other schools have to offer."

The 6'-4", 215 pound linebacker would like to get his decision out of the way fairly soon.

"I'm going to try to get it out of the way before the next season. I'll probably make a decision in late April or early May, so I can focus on the next season. It's going to be the school that fits me best, even if they like me a tight end."

Last season, Keefer helped his team secure a 6-2 record before he suffered an injury late in the season. His team lost their last two games, including their first round playoff game.

"We finished 6-4, but I missed our last two games. I had a little knee issue. My knee was clicking. The doctor checked it out and said I was fine. We took a MRI and he gave me the green light to play, but just before the game started my dad called me and told me I had a lateral meniscus tear.

"So we lost in the playoffs to a team we shouldn't have lost to. I had meniscus surgery and my knee feels great right now. I'm just about 100%."

"It was a good experience though because it made me appreciate sports. There's a positive in everything."

In 8 games, Keefer had roughly 90 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown. Keefer amassed those numbers because he is an intelligent player.

"I think I'm a pretty smart player. It helps me a lot of the field. I also think I have really good quickness that allows me to get sideline to sideline. I want to get quicker while also getting bigger and adding muscle. I want to be at 225 pounds next season."

When next season rolls around, Keefer will be fully healthy and anxious to get going.

"We had a very young team this past season. We only had 5 seniors last year. We have a really good core of juniors. We're all really good friends so we're excited for next season. We've been getting after it in the weight room. It'll be a good year. Getting to the state final is definitely one of our goals."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories