Shortly after Monona Grove offensive lineman Jaden Gault pledged his firm commitment to Wisconsin, Milwaukee Marquette defensive end Conor Sheehy did the same after his visit with the UW coaches over the weekend.
"I'm committed to Wisconsin 100 percent and have been throughout the whole time," Sheehy told Badger Nation. "I don't plan on taking any visits anywhere but Wisconsin. I'm 100 percent committed. I think Wisconsin will be someone to be a handle with in recruiting."
The 6-4, 265-pound Sheehy made that proclamation after spending Sunday on the Wisconsin campus with the five other in-state recruits of what the coaching staff dubbed ‘The Super Six."
While Sheehy is the highest-rated in-state player committed to the class (four-star defensive end ranked No.14 at his position), he recognizes that other commits - Hartland Arrowhead offensive lineman George Panos (three star, No.10 OG) and Gault (three star, No.23 OT) – and UW targets – Somerset tight end Gaelin Elmore (NR), Sun Prairie defensive tackle Craig Evans (three star, No.16 DT) and Hartland Arrowhead defensive end Billy Hirschfeld (NR) – are forming a pretty good friendship.
"It is really good to have a group of in-state guys like we do," said Sheehy, who has also kept in touch with Wisconsin 2013 commits Alec James and Chikwe Obasih. "If we get all these guys, then we will be something to really mess with in the future. I think we all represent what Wisconsin football is all about."
Representing the program well could also be said about head coach Gary Andersen. Admitting it was hard being committed to a program that didn't have a head coach, Sheehy got to hear Andersen speak at the WFCA awards banquet in late January and had some brief conversations with him over the phone.
That relationship changed on his visit when Sheehy and his parents had a one-on-one sit down with Andersen, as well as meet some of the other coaches, to get comfortable with the program and the direction the staff wanted to take it in.
"It was really great to talk to Coach Andersen," said Sheehy. "As a head coach, he told me everything that you would want to hear and that he really cares about the players. He has three sons of his own, so he understands what it is to trust someone else with their kids. He wants to make my parents feel sure that I will be taken care of and that he wouldn't have something his own son wouldn't do."
In addition to spending time with Gault and Panos, Sheehy did his best to get to know Elmore and talk more with Evans, who Sheehy hadn't communicated much with since Evans de-committed from Wisconsin in late December.
"I think Craig is getting more comfortable with Wisconsin," Sheehy said. "Obviously, I understand where he is coming from as it is hard to stay committed to a program that didn't have coaches for awhile. I think he is starting to realize that the coaches are really great guys and that they are taking the program in the right direction.
"I think with Gaelin, he was really liking it a lot. We need those guys to commit. as well as Billy. Obviously, Panos is in Hirschfeld's ear everyday telling him that Wisconsin is the place to be. With all the new facilities and back-to-back-to-back Big Ten championships and Rose Bowl appearances, you can't argue with that. I think the sky is the limit for the program right now."
Recognized as a WFCA first-team all-state selection and an honorable mention all-state pick by the Associated Press, Sheehy calls the awards "humbling."
"The team had a lot to do with the offseason training that we put in," said Sheehy. "We tried to take every play as its own and just playing hard, doing our best."
Now the senior leader on the team, Sheehy has taken the role of weight-room leader to make sure his group sticks together as one unit to make the Hilltoppers much better than last season's 3-6 record.
"We're focused on getting back out there," said Sheehy, "and having a great season next year."
Badger Nation's Brice Marich contributed to this report