River Rouge (MI) safety Reggie Pearson had been praying for a Wisconsin offer since the Badgers first popped on his radar this spring. But after visiting Madison with his cousins – a pair of four-star 2017 defensive backs named Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Ambry Thomas – two weeks ago, the UW staff told Pearson they would evaluate him during his junior season before deciding whether or not to offer.
A staff meeting apparently changed their mind, as Wisconsin extended an offer to Pearson Thursday morning and immediately became his leader.
“It's a huge relief,” Pearson tells BadgerNation, adding he had no idea what changed and that he’s not complaining. “I worked so hard for this opportunity and now that's it's a reality makes me so happy and it shows, if you work hard it will pay off.”
Pearson said his Wisconsin visit was perfect, finding no faults with the program and saying it was his best overall campus visit. Looking for an environment that gives off a family feel, Pearson is attracted to Wisconsin because a majority of the coaching staff are alumni, including the coach recruited him the hardest in defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard.
“They know how to run the program and know of the storied success the Badgers have had over the years,” Pearson said. “The players and staff all seemed to get along great when I visited, so that definitely covers the family part. The success in program is there, it's not hard to see. They have had numerous Rose Bowl trips over the years and I'll never forget watching them play when I was younger. They always appealed to me, even at a young age.”
A first-team all-state selection last season, Pearson finished the season with 77 tackles and two interceptions as a sophomore. Wisconsin joins Iowa State and Syracuse as Pearson’s other power-five conference offers.
“Wisconsin is recruiting me the hardest as of now,” he said. “I can tell they really want me. They're going to be it in till the end, and they're my leader as of now. Academics are huge for me. I have 4.0 GPA and they told me that they really like that. They can get me into major of my choice and they told me they prioritize academics first. That's huge for me because there is always life after football.”
Planning to return to Madison for a game this fall, Pearson plans to keep grinding throughout the summer to get himself prepared for his junior season.
“I can’t stop now; I want to rack up more offers and become one of top prospects in Midwest by my junior year,” he said. “I will keep working hard and keep building a relationship with Wisconsin staff."