MADISON - As he sat in the office of head coach P.J. Fleck at Western Michigan in late February, Brookfield East offensive lineman Mike Caliendo felt pressured to commit to the Broncos. It was the fourth offer or the day and he had heard nothing from the University of Wisconsin with Gary Andersen at the helm.
“They were really aggressive in pressuring me to commit,” Caliendo told Scout.com. “I didn’t know much about recruiting at the time and I kind of fell for the bait.”
Coming to Wisconsin’s camp to improve as a football player and potentially get a scholarship, Caliendo turned in a solid morning session and fought through cramps during the afternoon to put himself in position to earn his first power five conference scholarship.
“The reputation of the offensive line is always so good,” said Caliendo, who also visited the campus in March for a spring practice. “Considering where I am from in Brookfield, there are so many really good guys that have come out of there and played for Wisconsin, guys like Chikwe Obasih, Alec James and Joe Thomas. That would be sweet to join that group.”
Weighing in at 6-4.5 and 276 pounds, Caliendo said he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.2 seconds, did the pro agility in 4.93 and jumped 8-5 in the broad jump. More importantly he felt his best foot forward in front of Chryst, Haering and Rudolph in the morning.
“I think my speed and agility stood out,” he said. “I felt like I was competing with guys and dominating. There were a lot of talented lineman there. I like Chase (Bernrdt) a lot. He was cool and super good, too.”
Caliendo informed Fleck that he would be camping with the Badgers, something the coach understood.
“They understood that Wisconsin is my home school but they are still aggressively recruiting me,” said Caliendo of the Broncos. “They said I am the top offensive guard on their board.”
Rudolph told the campers that no offers would be extended Sunday but a source said that could change later this week. If Wisconsin were to offer, Caliendo’s name would come off the Broncos commit list.
“I’d de-commit,” said Caliendo, who currently has offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo and Ohio. “If Wisconsin would offer, I’d think a lot more big schools would start to come after me and likely offer.”
Even if that happens, Caliendo admitted playing for the Badgers would be a tough opportunity to pass up.
“They (Wisconsin) would be a tough school to top,” he said.