When the University of Wisconsin extended scholarship offers to him and his two closest friends nearly three weeks ago, Katy (TX) High safety Collin Wilder said a visit to Madison was a must for the trio before they made a college decision.
That visit happened Thursday and Friday and lived up to the expectations.
“It’s like every little kid’s dream who loves college football,” Wilder told BadgerNation about his visit. “It’s extremely traditional and there’s a lot of success surrounding the entire name.”
The 5-11, 175-pound Wilder already had a working knowledge of the program by having family who live in Green Bay. That’s one of the main reasons Wilder was excited to learn more about the Wisconsin experience.
“Just the competition they play at and the level they play at, I was excited about it,” said Wilder. “I’m pretty familiar with the area and the lakes nearby, but depth chart wise and relationship with the coaches and all that, I didn’t know a whole lot about.”
Although head coach Paul Chryst was not on campus for the visit (he was back in Pittsburgh attending his son’s graduation), Wilder, safety Travis Whillock and linebacker Paddy Fisher all got to spend a lot of quality time with recruiting coach Ted Gilmore, secondary coach Daronte Jones and linebacker coach Dave Aranda.
“Coach Gilmore recruits are area, so he took us around everywhere and gave us the tour of everything pretty much,” said Wilder, rated a three-star prospect and the No.30 safety in the country by Scout.com. “We spent time with Coach Jones and Travis and I worked through some chalk talk with him. Paddy went with the linebacker coach. That’s pretty much who we spent most of the time with.
“(Coach Gilmore and I) probably talk on average once or twice a week. We message each other quite often, but we’re starting to get a lot closer, especially after this visit. There is just something different being around each other compared to just talking on the phone.”
Wisconsin is one of five schools that have offered all three prospects, joining Boston College, Houston, Iowa State and Northwestern. The Wildcats were the first school to offer the trio and the group visited Evanston Friday before flying back home.
“(Northwestern and Wisconsin) are both very different,” said Wilder. “Not in a good way or a bad way but just the way they do things and the way their school is built on. It’s just a little bit different. They both provide fantastic opportunities, fantastic education and fantastic connections. Our relationship with the Northwestern coaches is very close to them and they treat us very well. We love them as well. (The two schools) have different things about them but different things we really like.”
Wilder admitted that the three players continue to talk about playing together in college but haven’t set a deadline to make a decision by.
“It’s still a dream and definitely something that we would like to do, as long as that school is perfect for all three of us” said wilder. “We’ll probably discuss it more within the next week or two, just to come off of this high of these recruiting visits.”