After an official visit to Rutgers last week, Springfield (Mo.) Kickapoo tight end Travis Vokolek saw an offer he could not refuse.
Rutgers gave Vokolek a mix of big-time academics and big-stage football. He committed to Rutgers less than a week after his visit. The son of a long-time college coach, Vokolek feels comfortable with coach Chris Ash.
“It's been weird for my dad with him being on the other side and he's enjoyed it,” Vokolek said. “My mom and sister are definitely excited. I could not turn down this opportunity because I'm playing in the Big Ten at the highest level. I have a chance to play early. How could I turn this down? My mom and the rest of my family agree that Rutgers is the best place for me.”
Vokolek canceled a Wyoming visit for this weekend because he knew Rutgers was the right school, he said.
“I wanted to make sure that Rutgers was the place I felt comfortable spending the next four or five years,” Vokolek said. “I talked with my family about it and we decided to do it. I'm extremely excited about it. It's a relief to be honest. I'm glad that this is all over. Heck of a journey, now I call home.”
Vokolek received an offer for early playing time during conversations with tight ends coach Vince Okruch and offensive coordinator Jerry Kill.
“They have maybe two or three scholarship players at tight end right now,” he said. “I'm going to be competing right away for a spot. My mentality is to take a spot. I know it takes hard work and I know I'm not big at all compared to other guys on the team.”
At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Vokolek sees himself as ready to grow physically in Kenny Parker's strength and conditioning program.
“On my visit, they showed us before and after pictures of guys for six months,” Vokolek said. “It's crazy how much they changed. That strength program is a heck of a deal. He's got a bunch of players that he trained that are in the NFL now. I know he's got a plan for me to get bigger.”
Vokolek closed his commitment interview with a message to Rutgers fans.
“You can expect me to work my tail off,” he said. “I'm going to be the hardest worker on the field.”