The first of what he hopes are multiple in-state kids staying close to home to play for the University of Wisconsin, Grafton defensive end Luke Benzschawel committed shortly after being given a Badgers scholarship in April. He considered it a thrill of a lifetime to play for the same school that his father did and his brother currently does.
Getting a chance to work one-on-one with the Wisconsin coaching staff during Sunday’s camp, Benzschawel’s excitement for his future only continues to grow bigger.
Why? Because he sees what head coach Paul Chryst has in store for the program.
“He’s just a real blue-collared guy,” Benzschawel told BadgerNation. “He knows exactly where you are coming from. He played there, so he knows what it takes to be great. He’s just a really cool dude to be around. He’s always joking around and then he can be serious like that. He’s just a really awesome dude.”
Benzschawel didn’t need to participate at any of Wisconsin’s one day camps to validate his scholarship offer but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t taken advantage of them. He was a spectator for UW’s first such came in late May, getting a chance to mingle with some commits and talk to some prospects, and was a full participant Sunday during UW’s final one-day camp.
“They wanted me to come down and learn some stuff that maybe I can use throughout the year, especially the pass rushing,” Benzschawel said. “They went a lot more in depth than what our high school is used to. It was just awesome because all the guys there kind of knew who I was. It felt good to be on that field.”
One of two defensive line commits in the 2016 class, Benzschawel said his relationship with first year defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield is growing, especially after the camp.
“He’s just been really up front with me about stuff I need to work on,” said Benzschawel. “He wants me to keep pushing myself to get better and get in the weight room a little bit more than I have been. He’s just a really cool dude.”
Planning to play both tight end and defensive end/standup outside linebacker for Grafton this season, Benzschawel has put on substantial weight since committing. Tipping the scales around 220 pounds this past spring, Benzschawel’s 6-6 frame recently weighed in at around 240 pounds.
“I’m just working on my whole body, my flexibility and my hips,” said Benzschawel. “I found out that that’s really crucial, especially after (Wisconsin’s camp). I still have to work on my upper body a lot still. I really didn’t hold my own on the upper body strength, but the coaches said my footwork is looking good.”
Benzschawel was the third commit for the 2016 class and has seen five more players get added into the fold over the last two months. While others outside the program have their opinions, Benzschawel couldn’t be more excited about the group of incoming recruits.
“Antonio Williams from North Carolina put us in a group chat, and we’ve all been talking a lot recently,” said Benzschawel. “They all seem like cool dudes and ready to work hard. I would like to see a couple more in-state guys, but that will come in time.”