Defensive end Nick Hayden was understandably ready to make a college decision. The Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead star was being recruited by more than 50 schools when he decided to verbally commit to Wisconsin Thursday.
"I talked about it with my family," Hayden said. "I told myself that I wanted to commit soon because I didn't want to have all the pressure on my senior year. I just wanted to go out and have fun, be a normal teenager and do whatever teenagers do. Me and my family talked it over and we decided that Wisconsin was the right place to go. I just decided that I wanted to tell my coach that I wanted to commit early."
Hayden did so, telling his coach, Tom Taraska, on Thursday. Hayden notified Wisconsin's coaching staff of his decision Friday.
"It is going to be a lot better now," Hayden said. "I can live a normal life as a teenager and not be worrying about all of the phone calls."
The Badgers likely won't be worrying about the long term health of their defensive line with Hayden, who recorded a gaudy 20 sacks last season, in the fold. At 6-5, 275, Hayden projects as either a defensive end or tackle at the collegiate level.
"They said it depends how big I get," Hayden said. "If I gain more weight they will move me inside. If I stay the same they will keep me outside. They will decide when I get there."
Hayden, who said he was a big Wisconsin fan, had a number of reasons for choosing to head to Madison next season.
"The coaches were a big part," Hayden said. "I liked the coaches a lot and that is one of the big parts of going to the school is becoming good friends with your coach.
"I met a couple players. They were outstanding. They seemed like they will accept you right away.
"Also, I would say it is close to home too so I can come back to my family whenever I want. That is also a good part about it. Just the tradition of the school is also great too."
Hayden will be reunited with prep teammate Tyler Donovan next season. Donovan, a star quarterback at Arrowhead, will redshirt for Wisconsin this season.
"That was a big deciding factor too," Hayden said. "About two months ago I went to visit him and checked out the campus and he seemed like he was having an outstanding time and it had just been a great experience.
"He has been on my case, (saying) ‘you have to go there, you have to go there. It is so much fun.' I went down there and visited with him. It was awesome."