NSD: Never a Doubt

By staying strong in his verbal commitment to Wisconsin, four-star offensive guard Dan Voltz has a chance to play early for a school he calls 'the best o-line factory in the country.'

MADISON - For practically the last 10 months, the home and cell phone of Dan Voltz has been pretty quiet. After making his decision public in March, he was no longer in the national recruiting spotlight - getting phone calls from coaches and interview requests from reporters upwards of a dozen times a day – and could sit back and relax knowing the University of Wisconsin was the right place for him.

Guess what? Voltz is right back in the limelight as he prepares to start his college career for a school in desperate need of some depth on the offensive line.

"Dan was a big one for us," said UW coach Bret Bielema during his signing day press conference. "He's very mature, very precise in what he wants to do and the time frame he wants to do it in. He really could probably play all three positions."

With openings at both center and right guard, Voltz is going to be thrown into the deep end of the pool from day one. One of three players in Wisconsin's 2012 recruiting class to enroll early, Voltz will begin snapping to the quarterbacks within the next week as well as preparing to play guard in spring practices.

With center Peter Konz and his backup, Jake Current, no longer with the team, the lack of depth at that position gives Voltz an opportunity to compete right away.

"Part of the reason I came in early was the depth issues, and to hopefully get some early experience, some early playing time," said Voltz. "I know whoever the coaches put in there is going to be the best guy to win the game, so I'm just going to do my best."

Voltz was the player that got the ball rolling for Wisconsin. A four-star recruit ranked the No.7 offensive guard in the country by Scout.com, Voltz was the first player from outside the state to be the first verbal in a Badgers recruiting class since Illinois' Jamil Walker in March 2003. He is also the first four-star out-of-state commit since East St. Louis wide receiver Kraig Appleton three signing days ago.

"We got him on campus early during his sophomore year and got a chance to be around him," said defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who was the lead recruiter for Voltz. "Him and his family came up several times, built that great relationship and I like what we did. It was a good fit for everybody. He's a great kid and after that, it's his toughness. He plays the game hard, and that's what we look for in our offensive linemen."

He's also loyal. While other offensive line commits wavered and eventually left prior to signing day, Voltz never once questioned if he should look at another school or a different opportunity.

"When I committed in March, I committed to the school and I knew that wasn't going to change if all the coaches left," said Voltz. "I committed to the school, not the coaches."

That philosophy was reassured to him when new offensive line coach Mike Markuson, who spent the previous 14 years working for Houston Nutt at Arkansas and Mississippi, drove down for a visit with Voltz and his family. Explaining his approach and his big picture, Voltz has no worries about what he hopes will be a smooth transition.

"Obviously, I was disappointed when coach Bostad left," Voltz said. "I had a lot of respect for him, but I couldn't be happier to have coach Markuson as my new offensive line coach. There was a little feeling of uncertainty … but I have talked to coach Markuson a number of times. He's a family man, he focused on family values and it resonated with the teams he's coached."

Voltz committed to Wisconsin over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford to name just a few. When recruiting him for the better part of a year, Ash said he never once asked Voltz who else had offered or looked up that information. To him, it didn't have an impact on how well the two sides fit together.

"It's about what we like and what's a good fit for us," said Ash. "Athletically, character wise and academically is what we care about. At the end of the day, it's who fits Wisconsin."

Although his letter of intent had been processed weeks ago, Voltz was fully enjoying the signing day festivities. Dress in a suit with a football tie, Voltz said he anxious awaited the news of his new teammates signing in their letters of intent. The reason? He knows that the small group has big things waiting to be accomplished.

"To see all the other guys officially sign and become a part of the family is a really great feeling," said Voltz. "Just to know that I am going to be into battle with every day once the season starts is a great feeling."

Dan Voltz -


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