MADISON – After winning the Wisconsin field goal competition at one of the school’s summer specialist camp with a 57-yard boot, Monona Grove kicker Collin Larsch felt good about the impression he made on the staff.
In reality, it was an impression that helped him accomplish his goal. Larsch became the fifth known commit in Wisconsin’s preferred walk-on class when he announced his decision Monday.
“It’s always been a dream of mine playing for the Badgers growing up,” Larsch told BadgerNation.
Wisconsin was Larsch’s only offer of any kind, but he said he had heard Bowling Green, Iowa, Northwestern and a number of FCS and lower division schools. Once the Badgers entered the picture with their offer in August 5, he said none of the other interest mattered.
After taking an unofficial visit to the school last week, getting to see the whole picture of what he’d have at his disposal, Larsch was hooked.
“Seeing the academic program was really reassuring,” Larsch said. “The players were great people, the coaches were awesome and everything all clicked for me.”
Two of the coaches that Larsch have built a strong bond with are special teams coach Chris Haering and special teams quality control coach Taylor Mehlhaff, the former UW kicker.
“They’re both great people,” Larsch said. “I sat down and had a meeting with both of them and all my questions were answered there. After the visit we had lunch with them and it was awesome.”
Through two games this season Larsch is 2-for-3 on his field goal attempts (hitting from 40 and 42 yards and missing from 46), has averaged roughly 46 yards on his punts and seen six of his nine kickoffs go into the end zone for touchbacks.
Wisconsin will bring Larsch as a place kicker, which he says is his main strength. In a Kohl’s national camp over the summer, Larsch took second out of 450+ kickers and went 3-for-3 on kicks from 55 yards.
“I’ve got the power and accuracy to make them,” Larsch said.
He’ll have a chance to compete for the vacant starting kicker spot following his redshirt freshman season, although that opportunity wasn’t the main reason for his decision.
“It came up that I could compete for the job, but Wisconsin was always going to be an option,” Larsch said. “It was always a goal of mine to play there. It wasn’t a deciding factor, but it helped. It’ll be a great opportunity to compete for the job.”