Gonzalez Unsure About Wisconsin

Union City (NJ) Hill offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez was excited about getting an offer from Wisconsin last fall, calling the school an "offensive lineman factory." But after his recruiting coach left and nobody told him, Gonzalez isn't so sure about the Badgers.

Although Thomas Brown has made great strides in Georgia and parts of New Jersey heading into his second week on the job, there are certain prospects that former running back coach Thomas Hammock actively recruited for Wisconsin that have since fallen through the cracks of the transition process.

Case and point: Union City (NJ) Hill offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was thrilled when Wisconsin offered him last October and cited his relationship with Hammock, who had been talking to him since March 2013, as one of the things that had him the most excited about the Badgers. When Gonzalez found out about Hammock's departure two weeks after it was announced, he was understandably disappointed.

"I had no idea about that," Gonzalez told BadgerNation. "Nobody had reached out to me (about Hammock leaving). It kind of changes things about Wisconsin, especially since I built a relationship with the coach. It's frustrating when I have a good relationship with coaches and they take on better jobs, but it is good for them though."

Of Gonzalez's offer list, he says Boston College, Duke, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina and Wisconsin are the schools that stick out to him, but doesn't know where the Badgers fit into his future plans. All those schools have offered.

"They produce great offensive linemen, so I'll have to wait and see what their interest level is now," said Gonzalez.

Rated a three-star recruit and the No.27 offensive guard in the country by Scout.com, the 6-2, 290-pound Gonzalez feels he has the best relationship with Rutgers and Penn State. Rutgers was Gonzalez's first offer, coming during his sophomore season, and a school he visited last weekend.

Penn State hired James Franklin from Vanderbilt after last season but unlike Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions made sure to reach out to Gonzalez right away.

"A couple days after some of the staff got in they came to my school," said Gonzalez, who hopes to visit State College March 28. "A couple weeks later once the offensive line coach came in they offered me. I am excited to see them."

He lists Ohio State as another one of his top choices and plans to make a spring visit to Columbus.

Saying many other schools are still evaluating him, Gonzalez plans to take a patient approach to his recruiting process. He wants to take advantage of all five of his official visits during the fall before making his decision. That way he can spend his summer working on building upon his game.

"I feel like I made great strides in my junior season," said Gonzalez. "I accomplished second-team junior All-American. I think I've done pretty well and I am looking to do better as a senior. I feel my strength is my run blocking and driving people off the ball. I feel a weakness that I need to improve on is getting a little bit more flexible in my stance and my footwork I need to work on."


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