Keels Coming with a Chip

Carrying a chip on his shoulder and eager to bring a swagger to Wisconsin's defensive line, Highland (KS) Community College defensive end Joe Keels is pumped to be joining the Badgers' program in January.

Since receiving an offer from Wisconsin at the beginning of September, Highland (KS) Community College defensive end Joe Keels knew where he wanted to go to college. The only thing holding him up were his grades.

But after defensive backs coach Bill Busch came to visit him on Wednesday to check out his status, make sure he was in the right classes and sit down with his academic advisor, it was clear that Keels would be admitted to Wisconsin.

"It was cool seeing coach Busch and getting a chance to talk with him in person," Keels told Badger Nation. "When I knew I was going to get in, I made the call this morning to let them know I wanted to be a Badger. Coach Busch was thrilled with my decision and coach Andersen yelled because he was very excited."

One of the main reasons Keels chose Wisconsin over other offers from Alabama, Nebraska and USC, among many others, was because of his family connections to the state of Wisconsin.

"It's close to home, that's where my families at and I want my family to see me play my last two years of college ball," said Keels. "I'm looking forward to playing with my cousin Melvin Gordon."

Keels - a 6-4 defensive end currently rated three stars by Fox Sports Next - played one year with Gordon at Kenosha Bradford after playing three years at Mt. Zion (Ill.) High School. Although offers from Alabama and Nebraska in the past few days caught his attention, there was one big difference between Wisconsin and the other programs.

"I had some other good offers besides Wisconsin but the main difference was coach Busch showed personal interest in me," Keels said. "When we talk it's not always about football and how I can possibly reach the NFL. We talk about school and how I'm doing and how my family is doing. I really appreciate that. With the other schools it was just about football."

Keels will graduate in December to participate in spring football. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining. Once Keels gets to Wisconsin, he has two simple goals he wants to reach.

"I (want) to get my grades and do well in school and be a starter for the season opener," Keels said. "I'm not going to Wisconsin to sit on the bench. I want to be able to make plays and help Wisconsin win."

One of the reasons why Andersen – a former junior college player himself - recruits JUCO players is because they usually come in with a chip on their shoulder. It is safe to say Keels has that chip.

"I'm excited and I'm ready to get up there now and compete," Keels said. "When I get to Wisconsin I'll have a chip on my shoulder because I have been doubted my whole life. As a JUCO you have to be more hungry then the next person next to you. I just want to bring a swagger to the Badgers' defensive line next year and make it fun being a defensive lineman."

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