After seeing a number of their offered defensive tackles commit to other schools or eliminate them from contention, Wisconsin decided they needed to go off the mainland to find some talent.
Elu Aydon – an under-the-radar prospect from Leone High in Pago Pago, American Samoa – became the Badgers first defensive tackle commit on Monday following his official visit.
“The family sense is there (with) the way they take care of kids from (the Islands),” Aydon told BadgerNation. “Coach Andersen sounds very confident in the way he takes care of the kids out there. I am willing to take that experience.
Aydon became the 23rd verbal commit of the 2015 recruiting class for Wisconsin and the fifth from a defensive lineman. But while Nate Howard (Ladue, MO), Jake Pickard (Millburn, NJ) and David Pfaff(Mequon, WI) project as a defensive end, Aydon projects as a nose tackle for the Badgers, important considering UW lost Beau Allen and Bryce Gilbert to graduation last season and will lose Warren Herring following this season.
He's Wisconsin's second defensive tackle commit in the class, joining Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei senior Olive Sagapolu, who committed earlier in the day.
The 6-2, 296-pound Aydon picked Wisconsin over offers from Colorado, Hawaii and Nevada. Wisconsin became impressed with him at Utah’s All-Poly Camp in which defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a was in attendance.
“During the last session on the 11-on-11s, I made a couple of plays and Coach Chad said he was pretty impressed,” said Aydon. “He said to keep it up and he’ll be in touch. Last week I called him, he handed the phone over to Coach Andersen and he offered a scholarship to play for the University of Wisconsin. It’s a blessing to receive a scholarship from that type of program.”
But after seeing (HI) offensive lineman Micah Kapoi commit to Wisconsin last fall, Aydon recognized that island players could make the long journey to a program like Wisconsin.
“He had the same situation as me and I think there football program fits him well," Aydon said. "I like the way Coach Chad coaches and Coach Andersen seems like a really good coach. He told me he wanted me to be the start of the Polynesian movement at the University of Wisconsin. I think they are moving in the right direction to get to the next level.”
Aydon has bounced around the Pacific for most of his life. After seventh grade, Aydon moved from American Samoa to the Hawaii and the island of Oahu for eighth grade and attended Honolulu St. Louis High for his freshman year. After that, Aydon back home and his impending decision is starting to make waves around the community.
“People in my village already started hearing on the street that I got an offer from Wisconsin and everybody is excited and happy,” said Aydon. “They all seem very proud. That’s one of my goals, make my family, make my village (and) make my native Samoans proud by playing college football, especially division 1 and especially for the Big Ten conference.”
Aydon made the long trip to Wisconsin this weekend for his official visit, which was the cherry on top for him.
“I know it’s far from home and it’s asking a lot, but there’s nothing wrong with taking that adventure," he said. "I want to experience being that far away from home. I know the program is top-of-the-line football and their academics are good. The coaches are amazing out there and they take care of us.”