Like so many prospects outside the region, Tampa (FL) Robinson defensive end Keldric Preston had a preconceived opinion of the University of Wisconsin that involved farmlands, livestock and not a whole lot else. By the time he left after his one day visit Friday, his opinion – like all the others – had drastically changed.
“Being from Florida and you tell people you are going to Wisconsin, they tell you that there is nothing up there but fields and football,” Preston told BadgerNation. “I went up there expecting to see nothing but a whole lot of fields with a football stadium in the middle. It’s not that at all. The campus is really spaced out and there’s a lot to do there. The city of Madison is based on that whole Wisconsin vibe and it’s got great energy.”
One of four unofficial visitors from the Sunshine State hosted by the Badgers this weekend, the 6-4, 240-pound defensive end was given a full tour of everything the program had to offer.
“We got to Wisconsin around lunch time and met with Coach Aranda, who took us into his office to talk about the school, the culture of the school and the program,” said Preston. “We met with some academic advisors to talk about the expectations. We toured the facilities, the meeting rooms, the locker rooms, the equipment area and it was real nice the way they had it set up. They rolled out the red carpet. They made me feel special.”
While there were many things that stood out about his day on campus, Preston listed meeting defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as one of his highlights. Although he was offered by Aranda, Preston had never met him, hearing about the offer through his coach and unable to connect with him when he visited his school.
“We’ve talked over the phone and on Twitter, but it’s really different putting a face to it and meeting him in person,” said Preston. “It makes the relationship stand out. We sat down and talked and there’s a bond there. If I do choose Wisconsin, it’ll be someone I go and talk to.”
Rated a three-star prospect and the No.120 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, Preston said the Badgers are recruiting him at defensive end but are leaving the door option to possibly start him at outside linebacker while he puts on the necessary weight. At end, Preston finished with 50 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles his junior year.
Holding over 15 offers, Preston will visit Indiana today and will visit Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Rutgers over the next several weeks. All those schools have offered, along with Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State and USF. He plans to sit down with his family and make a decision before the start of his senior season and admits that the Badgers will be one of the schools they’ll discuss.
“I like (Wisconsin) a lot more now,” said Preston. “I gained a deeper interest in them.”