The three-star defensive end summer visit changed the course of his recruitment in 2015 and gave the Badgers a tremendous defensive prospect. Originally thought he would move to defensive end later in his career, Preston said head coach Paul Chryst likes the 6-4, 260-pound freshman to develop into a bigger outside pass rusher in the 3-4 scheme. It’s a scary through considering Preston recorded 64 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a blocked field goal, earning team MVP and all-conference honors.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Preston: Basically the fact I’m by myself. I know I have no parents watching over me and it’s time for me to grow up.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Preston: It’s all about adjusting to the speed of the game and learning the mental part of the game at the same time. It’s a new group. It’s not like high school where there might be some good players, some average players and some bad players. Everybody is up here for a reason and you have to prove that you are here for a reason at the same time.
How did you prepare your body before coming to college so you would be able to step right in and start competing?
Preston: Working on my pass rush, most definitely, and coming out of a two-point stance now that I am an outside linebacker. Dropping weight, I’ve lost about 15 pounds since I’ve been here. Before that I was still focused on dropping weight to make sure I’ll be able to move with this speed once I got here.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Preston: Coming from an actual d-end scheme where I am a true d-end and pass rushing, I would say pass rushing is my biggest strength while covering is my biggest weakness. As of right now I’m transitioning over to being a better coverage player and hopefully that will work out.
How is Madison different than Tampa, Fla., where you grew up?
Preston: It’s a whole lot colder. Tampa is a big city with great beach weather but not really a friendly city. Up here the people are friendly but it’s a you-know-everybody type city.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Preston: I’m looking into doing development and family studies.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Preston: Probably anywhere where there’s food. That’s probably the best place to go.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Preston: I would say the least favorite place is a place with no food (laughing).
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Preston: Majority of the time it goes to rest and talking to my parents back home, making sure my family is straight back home and I keep my connection back home. I have to make sure I’m resting up for the next day at practice.
Who are you living with this fall?
Preston: Quintez Cephus. He’s great. He doesn’t redshirt so he’s traveling. He’ll come back and we’ll talk about how he did in the game, what he could have done better, what he did great on and watch the game all over again. Outside of football we have a real close bond. He’s like a brother to me.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Quintez?
Preston: He seems like a really goofy character, but he’s actually really quiet.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Preston: My mother and my father back home. Basically my whole family and anybody back home. We’ll be on TV and I’ll be on the sidelines and they are yelling my name and cheering. It’s definitely my biggest support system.
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?
Preston: My family loves it. My dad will go around telling everybody. It’s great for him to tell everybody your son is playing college football. As for me, it’s a true blessing and something I want to take advantage of.
From all of your scholarship offers, what made Wisconsin stand out from everyone else?
Preston: I would have to say the coaching staff is one of the best I’ve seen in college. They really genuinely care about you. The team, we’re doing good. We have a lot of talent behind it, a lot of tradition behind it. The city of Madison is a great place as it is by itself.
What has this year been like being a part of this program, putting on the jersey every day and running out of the tunnel to a sold-out crowd?
Preston: It’s probably been one of the best experiences ever. I encourage anybody who has an offer from Wisconsin to come up here because it’s nothing like you’ve ever imagined before.