Joe Keels - a 6-4 275-pound defensive lineman from Highland (KS) Community College - landed his fifth scholarship offer from Wisconsin on Friday; getting extended the offer from assistant coach Bill Busch after UW's defensive backs coach watched film given to him by former Kenosha Bradford teammate, cousin and current Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
"I sent my film to Gordon and he told me that he would give it to the coaches," Keels told Badger Nation. "Gordon and I were texting this week and he was updating me with where the coaches were at with reviewing my film. Coach Bill Busch was the one who offered me but coach (Gary) Andersen was the last one to see it and he gave the approval for the offer.
"Through out the week Gordon said he thought an offer may be coming and told me to stay patient. When I received that offer I was extremely excited because it's another chance for me and Melvin to play again."
Keels hasn't been in touch with the Wisconsin coaching staff for long but already has a favorable impression thanks to Gordon. Originally from Illinois, Keels played his finally prep season with Gordon and current UW redshirt freshman Vonte Jackson. Currently holding offers from Penn State, Western Kentucky, Cincinnati and USC, among others, Keels says the Badgers are now his top school.
"My recruiting coordinator is coach Busch and we get along well so far," Keels said. "When we talk on the phone its about what I'm looking for in a school and how I would like to be close to home. He also knows that my mom has some health issues and he asks me about that and I appreciate him showing interest. We also talk about school and I sent my transcripts over. He was also talking about how I can play right away and what I can bring to the Badgers defense. I like where the Badger program is heading.
"When Gordon and I talk he usually talks to me about the campus and how much he enjoys his time at Wisconsin. He also tells me about the coaching staff and it sounds like they are all great people."
As expected, Gordon was very excited for his cousin when he learned that Keels earned a scholarship offer from the Badgers.
"He was very excited for me and he found out after he was done practicing for the day and he was speechless," Keels said. "He expressed a lot of emotions through the phone."
Gordon and Keels worked out a lot together over the summer and Keels saw his game transform from pure strength to a combination of strength and speed.
"I've always been strong in the run game but this summer Gordon and I really focused on our speed and explosiveness as players," Keels said. "I definitely have been able to tell because now my coaches are asking me to be a hybrid type."
Keels will graduate in December and will have two years of eligibility remaining. He hinted that it's only a matter of time until he visits the school, commits or does both.
"I'll probably end up visiting Wisconsin but it may be difficult with school and football," Keels said. "I'd like to make my decision in the next couple of weeks but it could come soon as well."