Johnson Picks Up Junior Day Offer

One of two junior day attendees to earn a scholarship offer, Westchester (Ill.) St. Joseph's junior defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson talks about his scholarship offer from Wisconsin.

MADISON - After taking no defensive tackles in the last recruiting cycle, the coaches at the University of Wisconsin appeared poised to grab at least one big body in the Class of 2012, extending offers to three top-tier defensive tackles in the Midwest.

On Saturday during UW's annual junior day, the Badgers made it four, extending a scholarship to Westchester (Ill.) St. Joseph's junior defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

"Wisconsin has been one of my favorites for awhile, so I couldn't wait to experience what it was like, meet the coaches and everything," Johnson said Saturday night. "They've been recruiting me very hard."

Getting constant contact from co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash, Johnson (6-foot-4, 295 pounds) met Ash three months ago when the then-secondary coach visited his school.

"It's been cool," Johnson said. "We met for the third time today and got to talk a little bit. We are more on a friendship level now."

Traveling to Madison with his aunt and a friend of his, Johnson said the best experience was walking in and being offered a scholarship.

"Coach Bielema has done a fantastic job with the football and for me to talk with him and for me to get an offer, it was a big deal," Johnson said. "He came down to watch me wrestle and said I was very athletic for my size, that I moved well and that I am very talented and have a bright future. Most importantly, he said I am very raw and that I haven't scratched the surface of what I can become.

"I have a great chance to develop more if I come to Wisconsin."

That message was reiterated when Johnson sat down with co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge.

"He was saying how he likes tough defensive players that are dominant every play," Johnson said.

In addition to Wisconsin, Johnson lists no favorites among his scholarship offers from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan State, Northern Illinois and Toledo. While he plans on making his official decision next winter, Johnson will certainly be busy over the next several weeks.

"I am planning on going to Nebraska in the future, because its junior day was the same as Wisconsin's," Johnson said. "I'm going to take a trip to Iowa in March and go to Northwestern in the next two weeks."

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