On a quest to win a pair of state individual championships, Green Bay (WI) Bay Port senior offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen was adamant that he wanted to put recruiting on the back burner until after the state meet. For good reason, too; he already knew where he wanted to go to school.
“For a few weeks, maybe a month, I knew I wanted to be a Badger,” Van Lanen told BadgerNation. “It was more so finding a date to come down. I wanted to do it personally, not over the phone or direct messaging. I wanted to personally tell them I’m committing to Wisconsin.
That visit happened Saturday, as Van Lanen became the 11th commitment to Wisconsin’s 2016 recruiting class. He committed over offers from at least 11 other schools, including Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska.
“I know they have a huge run game on offense and obviously I love to run block,” said Van Lanen, listed at 6-5 and 270 pounds. “For me run blocking is fun because you get to go down the field and just hit somebody. Wisconsin is a hard hitting team. To be on the Badgers offensive line is an awesome feeling because I get to do that for one of the best programs in the country. It’s going to be really fun and I’m excited.”
A four-star prospect and the No.16 offensive tackle in the country, Van Lanen won the WIAA Division 1 individual championship in discuss and shot put at the state’s track and field meet earlier this month. Now that he’s committed, he doesn’t intent to do any more recruiting.
“This spring I really didn’t do as much recruiting,” said Van Lanen. “I just kind of kept it on the down low and stay away from a lot of the recruiting. I kept my interest level where it was at, even though I had my mind made up that I really wanted to go to Wisconsin. I am extremely happy with my decision.”
While he’s excited to play close to home and for a school with a rich offensive line tradition, the relationship Van Lanen has established with head coach Paul Chryst and offensive coordinator/line coach Joe Rudolph has him the most excited of all.
“I love Coach Rudolph and Chryst, and I think it was best relationship out of all the coaches I had a relationship with,” said Van Lanen. “I get along with them very well, I very compatible to them and have great communication with them. They’re going to make the most out of me to do great things at Wisconsin.”Van Lanen is the six in-state recruit to commit to Wisconsin since Chryst arrived in December 2014, a list that includes former Bay Port quarterback-turned-linebacker Alec Ingold. “That’s going to be really weird because for the last two years I’ve been blocking for him and now I have to block him,” said Van Lanen. “It’s going to be different, but I’m excited to spend another four years with him.”