Wisconsin was an offer that Butler (PA) Area lineman Jake Kradel had always wanted, even though the Badgers hadn’t come through with an offer with his rough decision date closing in. On Monday, Kradel finally got his coveted Badger offer.
“I'm very excited about this offer,” Kradel told BadgerNation. “Before I was getting recruited I always liked Wisconsin, loved the way they played and loved the way they won.”
The offer from the Badgers brings a significant change in his recruitment. The standout senior recently announced a top seven comprised of Maryland, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, UCLA, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. That list now consists of eight, as Wisconsin has firmly positioned themselves in Kradel’s top group.
“This offer puts Wisconsin right at the top with my others,” Kradel said. “I really like the way they do things and how they are always producing lineman on both sides. It shows they develop them and get the maximum potential out of them.”
Despite being ranked as a top 23 offensive guard in the country, Wisconsin is targeting Kradel on the defensive side of the ball, likely at the nose guard position, where offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield believe he can make a quick impact.
“Wisconsin and Pitt are recruiting me as a defensive tackle and a nose,” Kradel said. “I feel like I can play anywhere really. I want to play where I can reach my best.”
Wisconsin’s message to Kradel has been simple: come join the tough, hard-nosed lifestyle that makes the Badger football program so great. That message received loud and clear following the offer.
“Their message is all about the culture,” Kradel said. “The toughness, accountability, and work ethic Wisconsin has. Also, just how tight their players are. Those are some big things I consider in my decision.”
In addition to the message, Wisconsin’s increasing success in producing pro level players is extremely appealing to Kradel, not to mention a huge positive being the academic side that Wisconsin offers its student athletes.
“Right now my main focus is playing the best I can and getting a great degree, while putting myself in a position to have the opportunity,” Kradel said. “(Going pro) is definitely a thought, but I'm picking a school where I think I can (have success) off the field, in academics.”
When he previously announced his top seven last week, Kradel set an early June decision date. With Wisconsin now in the mix, is Kradel sticking to his original timeframe?
“I’m pushing it back now,” Kradel said. “I made a mistake by setting a date before. Definitely pushing it back.”
The main reason, Kradel needs to take a closer look at the Badgers.
“I’m thinking late May or early June (when I’ll visit Madison),” Kradel said. “But I’m definitely visiting Wisconsin.”