MADISON – The issues Wisconsin has had recruiting scholarship wide receivers has been well documented. Due to a combination of injuries, position changes and simply not producing, the Badgers haven’t had a scholarship receiver led the team in catches since Nick Toon in 2010 (64) or receiving yards since Toon a year earlier (805).
Kendric Pryor is hoping he can change that. One of three scholarship receivers Wisconsin signed in 2016, and the only one redshirting, Pryor was a first-team all-state selection after logging 43 receptions for 1,152 yards and 12 touchdowns. An outstanding athlete on the football field and the basketball court, Pryor hopes a year of focusing solely on football and mastering the Badgers' offensive playbook can produce immediate results for him in 2017.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Pryor: It’s different because you are on own. Even in high school I would wake up on my own to go to school, but if I overslept my parents would maybe double check on me. Now if you miss class, nobody is checking on you to see if you go to class. It’s just a little different, but it makes you mature into a better person.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Pryor: The game is a lot faster. All the little details matter versus high school where they didn’t. Everybody on this level is fast, athletic, so you aren’t just going to get by on things. It’s going to come down to details.
How did you prepare your body before coming to college so you would be able to step right in and start competing?
Pryor: Work on some things I needed to work on from high school, staying low on my routes instead of rising up, things of that nature. Try to perfect my game, perfect my craft.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Pryor: I’d say my strengths are athletic, fast, go up and get the ball, catch the ball in traffic. My weaknesses are got to stay in the playbook, get a little stronger, learn different positions so I’ll become versatile come spring ball next year.
How is Madison different than your hometown of Hazel Crest, Ill.?
Pryor: It’s a lot different. There may be a little bit more stuff to do around here, but from where I’m from there’s a lot of stuff to do. It’s just a little different compared to back home.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Pryor: Business or computer science.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Pryor: I’d say Camp Randall with the fans. We maybe had 1,000 to 3,000 in high school versus a stadium full of 80,000. For me, going up to Lambeau or walking around town, just the college football experience.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Pryor: Not yet, but hopefully I don’t find one.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Pryor: Go to the mall, play video games, just relax, put my feet up because we don’t get a lot of time off. I just try to relax as much as possible.
Who are you living with this fall?
Pryor: Dontye Carriere-Williams. It’s been going real good. I met him and Keldric (Preston) on my official last summer and all three of us decided to room in the summer time in an apartment. We’ve become real cool. Probably going to live with him and Keldric next year. We’ve all become real close.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Dontye?
Pryor: His dancing I make fun of. He’s a bad dancer.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Pryor: Probably my family, mom and dad. They just try to keep my head on the right track. Even with the redshirt, I wanted to play this year, but I didn’t see it (redshirting) as a bad thing. I saw it as a year to perfect my craft, get stronger and learn the playbook. They kept telling me to keep my head up, but I was fine, even though I wanted to play this year.
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?
Pryor: It’s a surprise, honestly. My junior year after football was done, I never thought I’d be playing Big Ten football here at Wisconsin. My favorite sport was basketball, so I was trying to work on basketball more. When I got my first offer, I thought maybe I’d have a chance to play college football. After that was when the offers started coming.
It’s a little surprising to me, especially when we went to Lambeau. When I got here, I was like, “Wow, I’m here.” But when we took the first trip, it was like I’m actually playing Big Ten football on ESPN, College Gameday against LSU. Going from last year watching them play on TV versus I’m out there watching, having a chance to play in the game, it’s a big surprise.
From all of your scholarship offers, what made Wisconsin stand out from everyone else?
Pryor: I just felt the coaching staff influenced my decision. They were pretty cool people. It’s far from home but close enough, but the coaching staff and the way things are set up, they are fun to be around.
What it’s like to put on the Wisconsin jersey every day, run out of the tunnel in front of 80,000 fans and be a part of this program on a daily basis?
Pryor: It’s a great experience. I remember in summer time coming up and we had our first workout. Everybody was like “Wow.” Nobody knew what to expect of things like that. You can really see the bond this team has. Nobody tries to put themselves above the team. Some other schools do that, but we all work as a team. We try to be the best team we can be.