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Taking a closer look at Wisconsin 2016 commit Mason Stokke - a linebacker from Menomonie, Wis.

Taking a closer look at the incoming members of the 2016 recruiting class, BadgerNation profiles Menomonie (WI) linebacker Mason Stokke

Mason Stokke

Outside Linebacker

Commitment Date: 4/20/15

Commitment in the Class: Third

Accolades: Rated the No.1 outside linebacker in Wisconsin, No.8 in the Midwest and No.42 in the country ... first-team all-state as both a linebacker and running back by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and Associated Press as a senior, rushing for 1,740 yards and 29 touchdowns while logging 184 tackles, 22 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions ... 2015 WFCA Defensive Player of the Year ... named 2015 John Anderson Award winner as state’s top senior linebacker ... named league’s offensive and defensive MVP by Big Rivers Conference ... three-time first-team All-Big Rivers selection ... three-year team captain ... won state wrestling title at 195 lbs. as a junior, not surrendering a single point during state tournament and finishing season with 45-0 record ... brother, Neico, plays football at Minnesota State.

Recruiting Story: Already one of the state’s best wrestlers, Stokke quickly established himself as a solid football prospect with his junior season highlight tape. By March he had offers from Army, Iowa, Northern Illinois and Western Illinois, not to mention interest from Buffalo, Minnesota, North Dakota State, Wisconsin and many others.

“I'm very excited," Stokke said. “It has been a goal of mine since I was little.”

Iowa was the early favorite being the Hawkeyes were his only power five offer and his teammate – four-star quarterback Nate Stanley – was an early commit to the program. That changed in early April. Shortly after a visit to Iowa City, Stokke picked a Wisconsin offer. Making a visit a short time later for a spring practice, getting a chance to watch the program workout and speak in-depth to head coach Paul Chryst and outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar, Stokke didn’t waste any time in joining the program.

Why Wisconsin? “It feels awesome (being a Badger). It has been a dream of mine since I was little … I feel like they are a good fit for me. I will play outside linebacker and feel very comfortable. I feel I fit that position well.”

Scouting Report: He's a kid with a good frame. He has some room to fill out, but he will do that once he gets to college and cutting weight for wrestling may have something to do with that, although I don't know that he has to cut. You like the wrestling background, especially when he's as good as he is. On the limited film I've seen, he looks like a good athlete who's going to be able to add size and strength and keep his speed. Outside of his game, I think it's always good to get an in-state kid, especially one like this where it seemed like Iowa was really making a good push. – Scout’s Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu

Coach’s Quote: “He was all state on both sides of the ball. He’s a kid who projects in our program at a lot of different positions, so it’s very exciting. You go to the school and people go out of their way to tell you how great he is. He’s an outstanding student. You look at his wrestling, his goal last year in the state tournament wasn’t just to win it, but not let anybody score a point against him. There’s a kid who is driven. He fits our mold of being a worker and a tough kid.” – Wisconsin special teams coach Chris Haering, who recruits the state

BadgerNation Prediction: Another in-state prospect who likely benefited from the coaching change from Gary Andersen to Paul Chryst, Stokke is one of those tough-as-nails athletes, which is evident by his state wrestling record. He won’t makes waves nationally, but he’s fits the mold of what Wisconsin is recruiting to now: tough, blue-collared, lunch-pail-type kids.

Example: a non-structural knee injury in camp prompted his head coach to sit him for the season opener. That lasted only one half. Getting on the exercise bike and getting loose, Stokke talked himself into the game. In just one half of football, Stokke – still favoring his leg - rushed for 218 yards, three touchdowns and added multiple tackles on defense. More importantly he was the spark his team needed to dig out of a 21-7 deficit and win.
“He is about as mentally tough as they come,” head coach Joe LaBuda said about Stokke’s return. “If you ever watch him wrestle it would be the same. They don’t come much more mentally tough. When he came in the second half I think he had 16 tackles in the half, and what he was doing on offense – he was the horse. He’s the horse that pulls the cart.” 

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