Wirtel Gets First Offer from Wisconsin
With each camp he attended during the spring and summer, Chicago Mount Carmel long snapper Steven Wirtel went in with the mindset and a goal that a good performance would earn him a scholarship offer. But after coming up empty in camps at Illinois, Kansas, Northwestern and Michigan State, Wirtel didn’t lose focus of his goal since he felt he was improving with every opportunity. The perseverance paid off when Wirtel’s solid performance netted him his first scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin following the Badgers’ specialist camp Sunday. “That was probably some of the best snapping I’ve ever done,” Wirtel told BadgerNation. “I just kept doing my thing. I had that (scholarship) thought pop in my head. When it came, I was just very excited.” Improving the special teams unit is on the list of importance for first year head coach Paul Chryst, so much so that the Badgers routinely worked special teams during spring practices and designated Chris Haering as the only the special teams coach. Getting a recruiting assist from Taylor Mehlhaff, who is also on Chryst’s staff, Wisconsin had been targeting Wirtel for the last few months, sending him emails and handwritten letters. “They were great guys,” said Wirtel, referring to Haering and Mehlhaff. “I think they were honest with me, which is what I like … Usually you see a college team have a coach coach another position in addition to the special teams. At Wisconsin they have a special teams coordinator who doesn’t coach any other position and Coach Mehlhaff helping out. That’s really nice.” The Wisconsin visit was Wirtel’s second visit to the campus, as he tagged along when his older brother, current Kansas junior long snapper John Wirtel, took a visit during the recruiting process a couple years ago. “They told me to look around to see where I’m at right now,” said Wirtel, referring to his conversation with Haering and Mehlhaff on the field. “The tradition there of looking at the Big Ten championships and all the bowl games, along with standing out there at Camp Randall, it was something special.” Wirtel said that he took little things from each camp he attended and incorporated them into his workouts. He said the constant improvement came from developing a better consistency with his snaps and deliver a solid target from the hips to the chest of the punter. “Each and every snap, whatever makes the punter’s job easier, that’s what I am there for,” Wirtel said. Offered by Kansas later in the day, Wirtel hopes to make his decision prior to the start of his senior season.
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