One of the big recruits head coach Paul Chryst was able to retain leading up to national signing day was Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy inside linebacker Nick Thomas, one of the top players on one of the state’s best teams. It’s a small part of the reason why the Badgers are looking to dip into the rich and plentiful high school powerhouse once again and have their sights set on junior outside linebacker Brendan Pyne, who walked away impressed from his unofficial visit Sunday.
“They gave me a campus tour and I got to see the academic part and saw the facilities, which are unbelievable,” Pyne told BadgerNation. “We went out and watched practice and talked to the strength coach. After practice a couple of guys went up to coach’s meeting room and I sat down with Coach Chryst and the defensive coordinator and watched some film with them. I really liked the coaches’ personalities. Coach Chryst is a really funny guy. I just really like how humble they all are.
“They said they are interested, and I fit the mold of the guys that they have. The defensive coordinator is going to come down and watch me during spring practice, and I just got to perform there. I really like that I’m the type of guys they are looking for: tough, physical, fast and smart guys.”
Going up to Wisconsin was a first for the 6-0, 210-pound Pyne, but it definitely lived up to the billing and high expectations.
“I have always heard about Wisconsin and the great football tradition and the great coaching staff,” said Pyne. “I thought Wisconsin was very nice. The buildings and all the coaches were great guys, so that is what I took out of it. The great football tradition, great facilities, great academics, all the buildings and the coaching staff is what I really liked as well about Wisconsin.”
While Pyne got the chance to talk with the Badger coaching staff, he also got to reconnect with his former teammate in Thomas, who enrolled in January and has been a big influence on Pyne.
“I am actually really good friends with (Nick),” said Pyne. “He came up to me after practice and we talked for a little bit. He is going to come back to IMG next month I think to watch some practice. He is a great linebacker and was a mentor for me there at IMG. I would love to play with him. He really taught me the ins and out of linebacker and being a better football player.
“I never told him I was talking to Wisconsin, but once my recruiting shot up recently after my first offer, I texted him about a week ago telling him I was coming up. Ever since then he has been telling me he wanted me to come here.”
That first offer for Pyne came from Miami (OH), but he has seen an increase of interest from more schools the last couple of weeks. After visiting the Badgers, they are definitely one school he hopes to land an offer from.
“It would really mean a lot to me,” said Pyne. “From the football tradition and even being with a former teammate would mean a lot to me and to my family as well.”