MADISON - When the Wisconsin athletic department announced the eight early enrollees in mid-January, it garnered much excitement because it meant some of the class’ top prospects were finally in the fold. It also meant that junior college transfer Serge Trezy, a 2014 commit, was finally cleared to start participating with the Badgers after having to delay his enrollment by a year.
But for the fans that follow recruiting a little more closely, it also signified the signing of 6-1 linebacker Ty DeForest from nearby Marshall High School, who decided to walk-on for Wisconsin. Normally fans don’t get too excited or talk a lot about the walk-ons who sign with a program, but DeForest has jumped right into the mix in the middle of the Badgers’ defense.
DeForest, who comes from a school of about 400 kids, has demonstrated versatility on the football field by being able to make an impact in all three phases of the game. DeForest did have scholarship offers from Illinois State, Western Illinois and Southern Illinois, all FCS schools, but playing for the home state school was too hard for him to pass up.
“It was a tough at the beginning because I had scholarships elsewhere, so I didn’t have to worry about anything,” DeForest said. “But growing up in Wisconsin, it wasn’t a hard decision for me to decide to chase my dream of playing for Wisconsin and wearing the Badger uniform.”
While playing quarterback, running back, kicker, punter and handling both punt and kick return duties, DeForest excelled at linebacker, the position he’s been working at for UW. DeForest, a three-time Capitol South Conference Defensive Player of the Year, is entering Wisconsin at the right time before the other scholarship linebackers arrive in Madison. Not only are the Badgers projected to go through three different installs of the defense, Wisconsin lost seven linebackers from last season, meaning the reps he’ll receive will help him get a jump on some of his classmates.
“I know there will be a chance for me to show what I can do at the linebacker position,” DeForest said. “The reps I’ll receive (this) spring will be invaluable. I just have to be able to make the most of the reps that I get. It will be all mental preparation. I know I’ll be able to go out and play, that isn’t a concern, but being able to mentally prepare will be a challenge.”
DeForest made his Wisconsin commitment just days after former head coach Gary Andersen resigned to take the coaching job at Oregon State. No coach in place didn’t bother DeForest since he had the confidence that Athletic Director Barry Alvarez was going to find the right man for the job.
“I was excited when Paul Chryst was announced as the head coach, but I knew Alvarez would make a good decision to help protect the legacy and continue to build the brand that is Wisconsin football,” DeForest said. “Obviously he did when he hired Chryst. Chryst understands Wisconsin football and what it takes to win here, and I’m excited to be able to play for him.”