Potoae Gets First Big Ten Offer

Described as a "matchup nightmare" by his head coach, Lakewood (WA) Lake defensive end Benning Potoae picked up his first offer from the Big Ten when defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a gave him a scholarship to Wisconsin.

Continuing to target players that bring a touch of speed and versatility to his 3-4 defense, Wisconsin defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a was at Lakewood (WA) Lake High School to check on highly touted junior defensive end Benning Potoae earlier this week.

"They had obviously evaluated him on film and they just wanted to let me know that he had an offer from the Badgers," Lakes head coach Dave Miller told Badger Nation. "At lunch time I told him that he had an offer from the Badgers and he already has a bunch of offers, so he was excited obviously to get another one from such a fine program like Wisconsin."

The Badgers have offered a dozen defensive ends in the 2015 recruiting class, all of whom are at least 6-3, weigh less than 260 pounds and have a heavy dose of athleticism. At 6-4 and 260 pounds, Potoae fits the direction that the Wisconsin coaching staff wants to take its defense in hopes of applying more pressures and stopping a bigger variety of offenses.

"I think he would be interested in Wisconsin," Miller said of Potoae. "He is the type of kid that I think at this point of his junior year is really wide open. He is not the type of kid that fly all around, and he is not the kind of guy to make a ton of unofficials. He will probably go right down to the end and will take five official visits after football season and I think Wisconsin is a school that he would have high on his list. I could definitely see him take an official visit to Wisconsin and get to see them a lot more, so taking a visit would be a good way to do that."

Ranked the No. 31 defensive end in the nation and a three-star recruit by Scout.com, Potoae holds a number of offers from the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington amongst others. Miller believes Potaoe will have a top list by the end of May and plan on his official visits from there.

"At Lakes we have had quite a few kids recruited over the years, so it is nothing new for us," said Miller. "I really think he does a good job of focusing on what is important and that is getting better in the classroom, weight room and doing the things he needs to do to continue to improve. He is going to go through the process and find a fit for him. He is a great kid, he is a team captain, works hard, very respectful, has a high motor and is very talented. He has his head on straight and will go through the process the right way."

Miller has seen plenty of talent leave his program with USC right tackle Zach Banner, former NFL wide receiver Reggie Williams (the ninth pick overall by Jacksonville in 2004) and current Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Miller believes Potoae has as much talent as anyone he has seen.

"Benning is very explosive, has long arms, big hands and does a great job of getting off the ball," said Miller. "He is a matchup nightmare obviously in high school because he is so strong and is a 400 pound bencher. He has got the frame that he could probably grow to be a little bit bigger and is an edge rusher, but we have also stepped him back and made him play a little linebacker at times. He also plays fullback and tight end, so you can tell how well he runs.

"He is a good athlete and does a lot of things. He is not just a big lineman that can't move, but I could see him being a guy that plays in a 3-4 like a hybrid rush end and step back into coverage. He is as good as anybody we have had talent wise here."

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