Gibsonton (FL) East Bay senior K.J. Sails said there are few schools recruiting him harder than the University of Wisconsin. That’s one of the main reason Sails is planning on spending three days on campus for an extended unofficial visit that begins today.
“I am ready to see the campus,” Sails told BadgerNation. “The coaches are excited to get me up there. I’m excited to see them and see what the campus looks like. If I wasn’t playing football, would I like the school for the school? Does the school feel like a family atmosphere? I am excited to get associated with the players and ask them a couple questions.”
Wisconsin is losing at least seven defensive backs following the 2015 season. After only signing one defensive back last recruiting cycle (four-star Titus Booker), adding more versatile playmakers to the back end of the defense is a high priority in head coach Paul Chryst’s first full recruiting year.
Considering the 5-11, 165-pound Sails can play both corner and safety, he’s become a top target.
“They’ve been recruiting me heavy,” said Sails. “When I did not have my ACT score, they still offered me because they knew I would get it done. That’s things that I look at. When I didn’t have the things that I have now, most schools didn’t stick with me. Wisconsin has always been there.”
Academic requirements have been a hot-button topic at Wisconsin over the past three years, as multiple prospects who were committed or wanted to commit had to be turned away because they didn’t pass admissions. Sails has been told by the staff that he shouldn’t have that problem now.
“I had a 13 on my ACT and I got it up to a 17, so I’m fully qualified,” said Sails. “I am still working to get it higher, of course, but (the UW coaches) have been telling me I’d fit in great. They have tutors and one-on-ones with the players.”
One of the things Sails is most looking for on his lengthy visit with his high school coach is a chance to meet Badgers junior cornerback Sojourn Shelton, who played football 250 miles away from him in south Florida.
“I’ve been watching him for a while,” said Sails. “Him and (Florida junior cornerback) Vernon Hargreaves are my favorite college players. They are similar to me, same height and same weight… He’s very physical; he plays with his feet, his hands and his eyes and he’s a baller. He goes and gets the ball when it’s in the air, and he competes, same just as me.”
Being recruited mainly by defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and defensive backs coach Daronte Jones, Sails – rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com – plays in a 4-2-5 defense in high school, finishing with 79 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles his junior year.
“We play a lot of man coverage sometimes,” said Sails. “That gets me ready for the next level wherever I go.”
After Wisconsin, Sails also plans to take a one-day unofficial visit to Iowa. He said he’s still considering Cincinnati, Indiana, Rutgers, South Florida and UCF. He plans to take some officials before making his decision.