Not only will half the starting defensive line that lines up against the Gophers in tomorrow's border battle hail from the state of Minnesota, the Badgers were able to pluck one of the state's top linemen in the Class of 2010 and watch him win the team's offensive scout team player of the year award as a freshman.
That success rate is likely to continue, as 5-11, 192-pound Tartan (MN) High cornerback and former Minnesota commit Keelon Brookins has put high expectations on himself, even though he is recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee that occurred in late September.
"In the third game of the season going up for an interception that my injury happened," Brookins told Badger Nation. "I just planted wrong. However, my recovery is going very well."
Brookins, unfortunately, has been through the recovery process before, one of the reasons Wisconsin was late to enter in his recruiting picture. Tearing his ACL and meniscus in his left knee, causing him to miss all but one game his junior season, Brookins originally committed to Minnesota in late February when few schools were showing him interest.
That changed in the spring, as Brookins was clocked running a 4.36 40-yard dash and won the 200-meter dash in the Class 2A state track meet last spring at Hamline University. It's one of the main reasons Wisconsin was so eager to get Brookins to its high school summer camp, and why the Badgers are sticking by him as he goes through the rehabilitation process.
"The (coaches) said get well and see in January," Brookins said. "I am enrolling early to Wisconsin, but I am not sure when I might make it up there for a visit."
The 2013 class for Wisconsin – which currently ranks tied for 35th with an average star ranking of 2.93 by Scout.com - has been bonding over the months leading up to Signing Day, as Brookins has built his relationship with players, like Chikwe Obasih, and recruiting contact Ben Strickland.
"We just talk about what other teens talk about," Brookins said, with a laugh. "My relationship with the Wisconsin is very strong. I talk to the coaches a lot and feel very comfortable with them."
Wanting to venture away from home and liking the opportunity Wisconsin provided him, Brookins, who will likely begin at safety, is confident that his style of play won't change when he is able to get back on the practice field on UW's campus.
"I am fast and agile," Brookins said. "I am also very explosive, smart and athletic. I am a game changer and love to play team ball."
Like fellow defensive back commit and January enrollee Sojourn Shelton, Brookins already has the Wisconsin spirit.
"I just want to say to Badger Nation is On Wisconsin!" Brookins said.