MADISON - He could have played close to home, staying in a warm climate in front of family and friends and would have been just fine. But Micah Kapoi wanted to have a college adventure, and he wanted to play football at the highest level.
It’s the main reason why Kapoi quickly flipped his verbal commitment from Hawaii to Wisconsin on an official visit last November. Picking up and moving over 4,100 miles from home, Kapoi has admitted the transition with the level of football and weather have been challenging, but the experience has been even better than what he thought it would be.
Returning for a fifth 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?
Kapoi: The time in between classes. I set up my schedule and didn’t know what to expect, but the time I have off is what throws me off. In high school you go every day from eight to two and then you’re done. I don’t know what to do with it. Between studying and free time, you don’t know how to break it down.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Kapoi: Beginning of the season was rough getting the schemes down and figuring out the way the way they play football here, but it’s been pretty smooth with all the coaches. Hardest thing is coming down with the footwork. Strength wise I think I am there, but the footwork is what gets me.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Kapoi: It’s probably getting my feet moving and getting stronger overall. After finishing my senior season, I did all weight room stuff. I realized this big o-line tradition and realized all these guys are strong. It made me want to buckle down and get in the weight room seriously.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Kapoi: Right now it’s probably my physicalness. That’s the biggest strength I have going against the first-team defense. Just being physical and wanting to get after it. Like I said, the weakness is probably my footwork and getting everything down. Those are two big things.
I’m sure the list is long, but how is Madison different than your home town of Kapolei, Hawaii?
Kapoi: Well weather first of all. It’s a totally different aspect. It’s not as different as I thought it was going to be. I thought it would be a whole different lifestyle. People here have a big family atmosphere around here. Aside from football, the people are Madison are welcoming. When I came on my official I saw that and liked it.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Kapoi: Right now I’m thinking personal finance with a certificate in leadership, but we’ll see down the road if I like it or I change it up next semester.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Kapoi: Probably would have to be the football lounge because you can just hang out there all together with your teammates. It’s a big place to sleep before your classes after an early morning workout.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Kapoi: Probably the Regent. I really didn’t like staying there in the summer.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Kapoi: Usually hanging out with the boys like Beau (Benzschawel), Conor (Sheehy), Michael (Deiter) and George (Panos). If I am not studying, I am usually in one of their rooms hanging out.
Who are you going to live with this fall? How are those relationships?
Kapoi: I am living with Billy Hirschfeld. It’s going good right now, just getting used to living with somebody else in a small room.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Billy?
Kapoi: He likes to turn off the air conditioning. I like it colder when I sleep but he turns it completely off.
I know you weren’t assigned a big brother because you enrolled early, but was there a quarterback who you took some things away from?
Kapoi: Kyle Costigan. The biggest thing I took away from him was his work ethic and trying to always be physical. That’s what came off to me with how hard he works and all the stuff he goes through to be physical on the field and be a leader.
Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?
Kapoi: Right now it’s probably my friends, those core group of guys I hang out with. Whenever I am alone in the dorm, we just go hang out. I think that’s what I needed coming from home, that family atmosphere. Those guys keep it tight, we stay close and we do everything together. It keeps me from missing home.
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?
Kapoi: At my first my mom was worried about me leaving because I had never left home. Other than that, they always are proud of me for coming here, coming out this far and doing my own thing. From when I was young they wanted me to get out and do something on my own. They are happy. Everyone back home watches all the games, so they like it.
What’s the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey?
Kapoi: Best part of being a part of this whole tradition they’ve got here. What I’ve seen around the country, this is one of the better traditions out there. The fans are amazing. The first game they came out and it was pretty amazing to see everybody and how the whole stadium was filled up. You hardly get that other places. It was a good decision to come out here because that experience was like nothing else.