Still Solid?

One of the top rated juniors in Wisconsin, Northland Pines (Wis.) athlete Austin Ramesh accepted a grayshirt offer from over Wisconsin over a multitude of other full-ride offers. Have other schools respected his decision?

MADISON - It's been over two months, but Northland Pines (Wis.) athlete Austin Ramesh remembers the situation surrounding his decision to commit to the University of Wisconsin as if it was yesterday.

Invited to Madison along with several of the state's top high school juniors on the weekend of March 24, Ramesh was weighing the options of full scholarship offers to Central Michigan, Illinois State, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, South Dakota State and North Dakota or a grayshirt opportunity with the Badgers.

Although debating over the decision, it all became clear once Ramesh took a moment for himself – walking out to the center of Camp Randall and letting it all soak in.

"The day was all about meeting the new coaches and building a relationship with them, and I felt like that's where I wanted to go … wanting to be in my home state," said Ramesh. "Toward the end of the day, I went down to the field with my high school head coach to just talk about it. A couple of the coaches saw me from the office, came down and I told them I wanted to commit.

"That's what I've always wanted to do."

Ramesh became the second verbal commitment to head coach Bret Bielema's 2013 recruiting class, and his decision opens up a variable of options for the Badgers. Earning first-team all-conference honors on both sides of the ball as a junior, Ramesh is a jack of all trades – having played running back, wide receiver, linebacker, special teams and both safety spots and registering over 2,500 yards of total offense and 22 overall touchdowns last season.

The 6-2, 225-pound three-star athlete is rated the No.3 fullback in the country by, but even the UW coaching staff doesn't know where his talents will be best suited.

"Coach Andy Buh and coach Thomas Hammock both want me to play at their positions, so there is a lot of fighting and controversy over me," said Ramesh, laughing. "Coach Strickland is the recruiter for up in my area and we build a better relationship every time we talk.

"I think right now I fit best at linebacker. I am definitely built more like a linebacker, but I love both running back and linebacker. If I can get faster and quicker, I would definitely try running back, but it really doesn't matter where I play."

With a limited scholarship class expected for the upcoming recruiting cycle, Ramesh's offer remains a grayshirt, meaning he'll sign his national letter of intent in February, enroll in summer school to take classes and workout with the team, miss the 2013 season and enroll as a full scholarship athlete with all five years of eligibility starting in January 2014.

Ramesh says the offer has a chance to get bumped up to a full offer – meaning he'll enroll on full scholarship next summer – depending on what happens over the next seven months, but is content with spending a season solely building his body and not wasting a year of eligibility.

"The grayshirt offer doesn't bother me at all because I get the chance to develop into a better college athlete," said Ramesh. "I like the grayshirt idea, so I don't see myself changing."

He also doesn't see himself changing schools. Although other schools know he has accepted a grayshirt offer, Ramesh said others have talked to him, but have respected his decision.

"They know what is the best fit for me," said Ramesh. "I won't visit anywhere. I am very happy with my decision."

With his recruiting in his rearview mirror, Ramesh has spent what was originally a busy summer camp season building his academic resume first and his football body second.

"Colleges look favorably on both, so I want to make sure my academics are in line with my workouts," said Ramesh, who reports a 3.3 grade point average. "I'm driven to work out very hard and train a lot harder (because I committed). I know I have to stay in the game because the speed of the game is a lot faster, too.

"I am just excited about getting the decision off my shoulders and I can just train hard to be ready for college."

Ramesh is undecided if he will camp at Wisconsin later this month.

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