Taylor Mehlhaff talks about his commitment

Taylor Mehlhaff of Aberdeen (SD) Central, who is considered one of the top kicking prospects in the country, made his college choice. He visited Minnesota Dec. 12 and was in Wisconsin Jan. 9. Both schools had offered him a scholarship. Mehlhaff was named the South Dakota Gatorade football player of the year. GoldenSports.net got a chance to talk to Taylor, Taylor's father Charles and mother Heidi about the decision to commit to Wisconsin over Minnesota.

Taylor Mehlhaff admitted that it was a tough, grueling experience deciding where he is going to play college basketball.


"It's been a long few months. Coach Barry Alvarez flew in last night and I committed to Wisconsin."


He enjoyed his visit to Madison and the overall experience of campus life at Wisconsin was the deciding factor.


"I liked the atmosphere of Madison with the stadium and campus. I come from a small town and I feel that I can adjust to Madison easier."


"Camp Randall is amazing. The Metrodome does not feel like home. There are advantages to kicking indoors, but it is not the same as Wisconsin."


Taylor said that baseball was not as big of a factor as expected. Some had speculated that Minnesota had an edge since the Badgers do not have a baseball team.


"I don't know if it would have an effect. Football is my first priority. Baseball is a bonus.'


Taylor said that the distance was not a big concern in his decision.


"Distance where I am located was not going to be a big factor. I knew that I'd have to go a distance away no matter where I went. Minnesota was a appealing because it was only four or five hours away, but distance won't matter. My parents are willing to travel four more hours." 


The fact that Wisconsin has a special teams coach recruiting him was a big factor in picking the Badgers.


"Minnesota recruited by region. I liked coach Shaw a lot, but I never got to spend much time with Coach Adamle. Coach Murphy was the one who recruited me and is going to coach me. I felt like home at Wisconsin. That they would take care of me."


Wisconsin special teams and outside linebackers coach Brian Murphy has been in charge of recruiting Taylor. Wisconsin had junior Mike Allen and senior Scott Campbell as their kickers this season. However, kicking was a concern with the Badgers this season. Taylor feels that he will get a chance to get playing time as a freshman.


"If everything goes as planned, I'll kickoff and compete for field goal duties. Mike Allen had problems with injuries. I'm definitely going to compete for the job. ‘


His mother, Heidi, was glad to that Taylor made his choice as well.


"I'm glad that it is over in a way. You wonder if he made the right decision, but I think it was meant to be."


"It broke my heart that he turned down Minnesota. I hate to think how Coach Shaw took it. But, I see it from a business point of view. I know that Taylor had a difficult time telling Minnesota no, but I think that he felt a warmer atmosphere at the school. Minnesota was more spread out and a bigger city. I think that he got a different feeling at Wisconsin."


"I thought that maybe Wisconsin not having baseball would be a factor. He is an athlete who is also playing sports. He likes baseball and puts 100% in whatever he does. He's got drive."


Heidi said that another school with some ties to her was hoping to get involved late in the process.


"I'm originally from Virginia and Virginia Tech had called, but it was too much coming down the wire."


The Gophers have 22 commitments to date and had hoped to land Mehlhaff to step in with Rhys Lloyd going into his senior season. We'll keep you updated in the latest on the Gopher football recruits leading up to the signing date on Feb. 4th.

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