Mainland Interest

After missing out on four-star defensive tackle Scott Pagano, Wisconsin and linebackers coach Andy Buh are searching the islands for that next diamond in the rough. That player might be St. Louis (HI) junior Jacob Lacaden.

MADISON - Since linebackers coach Andy Buh came aboard the Wisconsin coaching staff, the long time West Coast assistant has been trying to make a splash on Hawaii with taking interest in some of the top talent they have to offer.

After offering four-star defensive tackle Scott Pagano, the Badgers are looking for that next diamond in the rough and might have uncovered him in St. Louis (HI) junior Jacob Lacaden.

"We went through a gauntlet of a preseason," Lacaden told Badger Nation. "Stat wise, we played six games and I'm averaging 5-8 tackles and two forced fumbles so far. Personally, I think I'm playing good so far. I'm really making the most of all opportunities that come my way. As for my teammates we are a feisty group of guys with a lot of studs all across the board."

The 6-0, 190-pound strong safety Lacaden is still looking for that first offer, but doesn't mean some schools are already on him, as Hawaii and Colorado have already expressed high interest. One school he would be interested to hear from is the Badgers.

"Colorado was saying they were looking forward to watching me play, and the new coaches at Hawaii said they are interested in having a "tough guy" as a defensive back," Lacaden said. "Of course I would be interested in Wisconsin. When I do get the chance to watch them play, I see the tenacity they bring along with the pride. That is something everyone wants to be a part of.

"One thing I notice about (Wisconsin) is its one brotherhood and nobody seems to be left behind. That offer would mean a lot to not only me, but my family as well. Just to have that opportunity is a blessing."

Family can sometimes be a critical factor in a prospect's decision and Lacaden has it being a big deal for him. Saying distance won't be a factor because of the support his family has given him, Lacaden has some mainland-visits planned to see some Pac 12 schools.

"My family will influence my decision a lot, but like my dad tells me, in the end it is my final call because that's where I'll be living for the next four years," said Lacaden. "I'm planning on visiting Oregon, Washington and Washington State. It is a possibility that I make it out to Wisconsin, but that is something I have to talk to my parents about and I wouldn't mind it."

Wisconsin is familiar with St. Louis HS in Hawaii by recruiting one of his teammates in junior offensive guard Louis Vailopa. It is very rare to see any package deals happen in college football recruiting, but there is a possibility of one happening.

"I definitely could see me and Louis playing together in college because guys at our school form a brotherhood," Lacaden said. "Being that were the only all male school in Hawaii, it would be a pleasure to be with him."

Many mainlanders feel the style of play is a lot stronger compared to the island. Lacaden has another opinion on that.

"Football in the mainland compared to football I play in Hawaii isn't all that different," Lacaden said. "Little do people know that coming from a small island they wouldn't think we could bring it. Me personally, I've gone up against guys in the mainland and felt that I was capable of competing against them to my highest level. I know physically us Polynesians will bring it and we won't stop going until that final whistle is blown because it is embedded in our DNA. Speed wise we may not compete, but we won't give up without a fight."

Looking forward to the rest of his season, the talented defensive back is looking to finish strong and with pride.

"My goal for this season is to make first team all-conference and first team all-state as a team," Lacaden said. "I just want us to be holding up that trophy at the end of the season high and proud."


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