MADISON - Following the departure of head coach Gary Andersen, Titus Booker found himself with a new wealth of opportunities. Iowa and Kentucky offered him scholarships and wanted him to come take an official visit. He declined.
Michigan and head coach Jim Harbaugh came in at the 11th hour and offered him an opportunity to play tailback, a position where he averaged 214.6 yards per game and 10.6 yards per carry his senior season. Right before leaving on his official visit, he decided to cancel.
Why did Booker fend off all other suitors when he had no loyalty to the new coaching staff? Because he had an affinity to the program.
“(Wisconsin) was just where my heart was at; there was a lot of hype at the end of the day, but it isn‘t about that,” Booker said in the spring. “Wisconsin has been recruiting me since my junior year, they have been behind me and getting on me. They were one of the schools that helped me focus on my grades. They helped build me into who I am today.”
Returning for a six season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers’ future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Booker: It feels like a whole new world. You just have got to get used to it every day, try to talk to new people and try to get new experiences in. It’s about figuring out where you fit.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Booker: Always being up-tempo, always needing to be at your top speed would be my biggest adjustment.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Booker: Focusing more on weight lifting, focusing more on recovery with getting iced and going to the trainers if something is bothering you. Always staying on top of things is important.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what are your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Booker: I think my athleticism. My weakness is my technique.
How is Madison different than your home town of Round Lake Beach, Ill.?
Booker: It’s not too far away but when you can’t really leave it feels further. It’s the Midwest, so I am pretty comfortable. It’s new but I am used to it.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Booker: I would like to study environmental studies. That’s something I am passionate about. I am also interested in business, so we’ll have to see.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Booker: I love Camp Randall.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Booker: I’ll probably have to go with the dorms. I like being outside.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Booker: I like talking to my family and friends back home. That helps keeps me calm because they support me and help me keep my sanity.
Who are you going to live with this fall? How are those relationships?
Booker: I’m living with Elijah Strong. It’s going good. I played 7-on-7 with him at Core 6 athletes. We know each other pretty well.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Elijah?
Booker: He gets up in his sleep a lot. Not a sleep walker, but he’ll just randomly wake up when I’m trying to go to sleep.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Booker: Definitely my family. They have always been there for me and supported me. They’ve been there since the beginning, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
What’s your parents’ reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Booker: They are very excited for me. They worked very hard for me to get to this spot and seen how hard I worked, so I know they are proud.
What was the main reason why you flipped your commitment to Wisconsin?
Booker: I thought it was a perfect fit for me. It wasn’t too far from home. I loved the staff, the atmosphere and I was comfortable with the players when I got here. I knew T.J. Edwards, so that was a pretty big thing. I liked what the coaches had planned for me. I thought this was the best fit for me.
What is like putting on that Wisconsin jersey every day and getting a chance to run out on to the field for a home game?
Booker: Definitely just playing football. Whenever you play football you’ve got to be happy. I think that’s always the best part.