Surrounded by his family on an unofficial visit to the campus Monday, Brookfield East (Wis.) defensive end Alec James ended his recruitment by giving Wisconsin his verbal commitment.
"I had my close family up there, which was nice, and I wanted to get it done before the season," James told Badger Nation. "I decided to make the decision today. I feel happy about it. I feel like there is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I am just happy to call myself a Badger now."
"Coach Bielema was screaming and happy and coach Partridge jumped up to give me a hug," said James. "Coach Strickland and coach Herbert were fired up. Everyone was happy for me and welcomed me into the family."
James and his family also got a chance to sit down with athletic director Barry Alvarez prior to Wisconsin's practice. For James' grandfather, that was the biggest thrill of the day.
"Coach Alvarez talked about a lot of common stuff," said James. "We talked a lot of random stuff, but we talked about what it was like to be a Badger, what he loved about this place and all the things he did to help turn around the program. It was nice meeting him."
One of the top in-state prospects in Wisconsin, James, who is good friends with Brookfield Central defensive end and Wisconsin commit Chikwe Obasih, played primarily at defensive end for East (where he recorded 86 tackles and 12.5 sacks last season), but can play at multiple positions, including tight end, because of his versatility. He's also improving his speed, running a 4.45 40-yard dash Friday.
"Wisconsin really liked me as a person and my character, which I take a lot of pride in," said James. "I think football wise, I have good speed off the end and can play well in space or dropping back into coverage. I am real confident coming off the edge and getting after the quarterback."
Wisconsin has 13 commitments in its 2013 class (11 on full scholarship), meaning the Badgers have between 1-3 open scholarships for the class at this time.
"I am real excited to keep the winning tradition," said James. "I always pride myself on playing good defense and (Wisconsin) has a real good defense. They are definitely on the up rise, so why not join them when they are good and make it even better?"