Doing thorough research on all of the two dozen schools that had offered him, Humble (TX) Atascociata cornerback Travian Blaylock felt on paper that the University of Wisconsin was the best school for him academically and athletically.
After spending two days on campus late last week, Blaylock almost has no doubts about the Badgers.
“The whole experience really wowed me,” Blaylock said. “From the city itself to the people, to the coaching staff to the facilities, even the fact being in the weight room they have a lot of organic foods. That’s what we do at home and eat as healthy as possible. Just seeing that brings that factor of home. The whole experience was just incredible.”
The 6-0, 175-pound Blaylock admitted he “wasn’t expecting much” on his first trip to Wisconsin but was excited nonetheless through his internet research and conversations with defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jim Leonhard to see what the program was all about. What he saw paled in comparison to what he was expecting.
“The coaching staff, the city itself, the people,” Blaylock said of his favorite experience on the trip. “I took everything into consideration after I went up there. All my questions were answered.”
Targeting only a select number of cornerbacks in the 2018 class, Blaylock said he felt like a top priority by Leonhard during their conversations.
“He said he doesn’t coach everybody the same, meaning it’s not his way or the highway type of deal,” Blaylock said. “He finds your way to win, you find that way to win and you go do it. I feel like him giving me some freedom to experiment and figure out my way to be the best player I can be will help me a lot in growing as a corner and develop my skills and technique.”
Just as important as Blaylock seeing the campus, he brought his parents on the visit. His father is former N.F.L. running back Derrick Blaylock, who was impressed by Leonhard and the entirety of the trip.
“My parents are a big part of this,” Blaylock said. “I look up to them for advice. They help me out a lot. I felt really positive up there, and for me not being the only one to feel that, that brings a lot of confidence in my decision. It helped me feel confident that it was the right place to be.”
Part of that feeling came from the family’s conversation with head coach Paul Chryst. With Chryst knowing Blaylock wanted to pursue the time-consuming major of engineering, Blaylock said Chryst spent a good portion of their time laying out the challenges of being the student-athlete and offering encouragement.
“He said he brings in people who are good kids, who love football and want to do something with their lives,” Blaylock said. “Him being that kind of guy who recruits those types of guys helps me out and helps the team out, having a bunch of kids of like mindedness running out together and competing together.
“He said we take it seriously in the classroom, too. It’s going to be hard doing engineering, it’s going to be a grind, but it’s doable because you’re going to get help. He said I can get through it.”
The recruitment of Blaylock, according to him, is coming down to the wire. With Wisconsin on top, he has committed to going to Stanford June 20-21 for a camp and a campus visit. Should the Cardinal offer, Blaylock admitted he would have a tough decision to make.
If Stanford has trouble deciding or chooses to pass, Blaylock knows where he wants to play college football.