The Freshman Fifteen - Keelon Brookins

A one-time Minnesota commit and a native of the Twin Cities, Wisconsin defensive back Keelon Brookins hopes to be a key factor in the Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe for years to come. Badger Nation gets to know the freshman defensive back a little better in the return of our popular feature.

MADISON - Keelon Brookins has already experienced both sides of the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry, and the true freshman cornerback hasn't even played a down yet.

Brookins committed to the Golden Gophers in February 2012 and the commitment lasted for five months, as the Badgers' scholarship offer following one of their high school summer camps was too much to pass up from an academic, athletic and social perspective.

Having missed most of his high school career because of ACL problems, Brookins has spent the last 11 months on the Wisconsin campus rehabbing his knee (tore his ACL and meniscus September 2012), learning the safety position and working with the scout team so he can throw his name in the mix next season.

"It's been a blessing and it's been a lot of fun," said Brookins. "I enjoy going out and competing with my friends and my teammates every day, who I look up to. I get to watch them, can enjoy this time and work on things on the scout team like reading the offense better and learn how the defense reacts to people. I can help contribute to our team's success by being on the scout team."

As one of six football players from the state of Minnesota on the roster, axe week brings an extra special feeling for the former three-star athlete from the Twin Cities.

Returning for a fourth season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.

Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Brookins: There really hasn't been a hard part. My parents raised me very well. The adjustment from high school to college was smooth for me because the type of childhood that I had any having my parents around me.

What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?

Brookins: Probably the speed of the game. You have to learn that everybody is fast at this level and you have to outwork them in some type of way.

Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?

Brookins: I would say trusting my knee and becoming mentally stronger. It wasn't easy for me. It took awhile, but I feel overall I am where I need to be and that I keep improving. That's my goal to keep improving every day.

What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?

Brookins: My weakness would be able to move with the game, as we would say. I need to be able to keep reading the plays and being able to move with the pace of everybody. My size, speed and athletic ability are some of my strengths.

How is Madison different than your home town of St. Paul? What's the biggest difference?

Brookins: Madison is a little smaller, but it's not a big difference in my eyes. It reminds me a lot of home.

Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?

Brookins: Elementary education. I want to be a principal because my dad is an elementary school principal.

What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?

Brookins: Probably my dorm because a lot of my freshman classmates are over there, we're right next to each other and we get to interrupt each other every day and night. It's a lot of fun. I have my bed, I have my video games, I have my little space to myself and I can always go there to relax.

What's your least favorite place on campus?

Brookins: My dorm when I have to walk there. It's pretty far away.

What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?

Brookins: Sitting back and talking to my roommates a lot. Talking to my neighbors, teammates and just sitting back and talking. Every night we talk about something that comes up and talk for an hour before going to bed.

Who did you live with this fall? How are those relationships?

Brookins: I live with Jazz Peavy. It's a great relationship. We talk about everything. Right now we are sitting back, relaxing and enjoying our time since we are both redshirting. We need each other to help study and help each other stay grounded.

What's the most interesting thing you've learn about Jazz?

Brookins: He really hasn't surprised me in any way. We're a lot alike. We both like video games, watching movies and relaxing. I guess it's surprising that he is a lot like me.

Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?

Brookins: My family by far; my two little brothers, my mom and my dad. They've been with me since day one. I wouldn't trade them for nothing in the world. If it weren't for them, I don't know if I'd still be here. They've gotten me this far and keep pushing me every day.

What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?

Brookins: They don't have a big reaction because they raised me and in their eyes they knew I would do something special, something great. As long as they aren't paying for college, they are OK with it.

What's the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey, especially when you ran out on the field for the first time?

Brookins: That was an experienced. I knew I wasn't going to be playing for awhile, but it was a lot of fun, it was a great experience and I am glad I am a part of it to enjoy it.

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