On the first plane flight of his life, Gibsonton (FL) East Bay senior defensive back K.J. Sails visited two Big Ten schools he only knew so much about. As he prepared to return home, the 5-11, 165-pound prospect said the visits to both Iowa and Wisconsin were off the charts.
His first stop was Madison on Tuesday, a visit that was chalked full of campus and facility tours, meetings with players and the coaching staff. Sails even got a rare sit down with athletic director, and former head coach, Barry Alvarez.
“It was great; it was everything people said it was,” Sails told Badger Nation about Wisconsin. “It was great getting to talk to the head coach Barry Alvarez. He doesn’t really talk to too many of the recruits, but I got to sit in his office and talk to him for about a half hour. That was pretty cool. He was telling me that they really want me at Wisconsin (and) I have a chance to play early. It was pretty cool to know that.”
Alvarez’s office overlooks Camp Randall Stadium, which made a statement to Sails even with the stands empty.
“The facilities were great,” said Sails. “I’ve heard about (the stadium), but I never really experienced it for myself. It was actually crazy. It blew me away.”
In addition to spending time with Alvarez, Sails – ranked a three-star safety by Scout.com – got a chance to meet one of his favorite college players in junior cornerback Sojourn Shelton.
“It was great,” said Sails. “With him being from Florida and knowing what it’s like to leave home and be there, it was great to hear him tell me about the school and how he loves it.”
After spending the day in Madison Tuesday, Sails, who came on the trip with his high school coach, drove to Iowa City to tour the Hawkeyes’ campus and facility on Wednesday.
“They are similar to Wisconsin,” said Sails. “I didn’t know Iowa was going to be like that with the facilities. It blew me away. The coaches, how the city is and the stadium, I actually loved Iowa. It was great to experience that.”
The highlight of the Iowa trip for Sails was getting a chance to sit down with Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and hear his recruiting pitch.
“They told me that I’m a priority for them,” said Sails. “He said he would love to coach me and would love to have me. I also have a chance to come in and play early. He told me that I’m a tough kid, and we talked a lot about life. He’s not only a football coach but a great person.”
Sails drove back to Madison Wednesday night and spent Thursday killing time around campus before returning home.
Saying he couldn’t name a favorite between the two, Sails said he plans to return to both schools in the fall for an official visit.