Twins may part ways

Madison Memorial stars could make decision as early as Friday

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They have sent out tapes and waited for replies. They have visited the local university numerous times. They enjoyed their high school's best season in years and earned plaudits along the way. All the while, Bill and Jack Ikegwuonu have planned on playing college football together.


"We're going as a combination, as a tandem," Bill Ikegwuonu said in November.


"Just being with my brother, the comfort level going into the program would be a lot higher," Jack said in a Nov. 20 article in The Capital Times. "I really feel we need to be with each other."


The reality of recruiting, though, could get in the way of that dream.


"We are trying to see if that will work out," Bill said Wednesday. "We are trying to work that out…if it doesn't then we will go our separate ways."


Jack has received the most attention of the two. A cornerback and receiver for Madison Memorial, Jack put up big numbers (38 receptions, 974 yards, 12 touchdown; nine interceptions, four pass break ups, 37 tackles), earned All-Big Eight and all-state acclaim and two area player of the year awards, catching the eye of a few more big-name schools along the way. Bill, meanwhile, performed admirably as a linebacker and running back and earned all-area and all-conference as a return specialist (29.5 yards per kick return, one touchdown; three receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown, 38 carries for 244 yards and four touchdowns).


"(Bill) is a great football player, too. He can add anything that I can add to any team," Jack told The Capital Times. "I just happened to be the one scoring the touchdowns and getting the stats. He's just as good a football player as I am."


Colleges, however, have not seen it quite the same way. While Jack and Bill have received offers from Mid American Conference schools Western Michigan and Ball State, only Jack has a scholarship on the table from Oregon State, and an offer to greyshirt at Wisconsin. The Badgers have offered Bill priority walk-on status, "but that may change depending on circumstances" with other recruits, according to Bill.


The twins have taken numerous unofficial visits to Wisconsin attending games, visiting practices and stopping by the Camp Randall offices to see coaches. It is little secret that they would like to stay close to home and the state's flagship University would be an ideal fit, but the scholarship situation complicates matters.


"That's the big issue. Just basically you can't really, who can turn down a full scholarship?" Bill said. "So that's probably the biggest issue. Everywhere I've been offered, Jack's been offered. So it's like, ‘do we want to stay together or do we want to go a different place?'"


Where to go? Bill and Jack could attend Wisconsin, but that would leave one brother without a scholarship. They could both head to Western Michigan, their current No. 2 and the site of their only official visit, or they could part ways, Jack taking the opportunity to stay in Madison, while Bill takes a scholarship at Western Michigan or elsewhere.


"Ideally – if Wisconsin works out then it will work out there," Bill said. "If it doesn't then another school might be coming around soon. So, we will take whatever is best for us.


"Otherwise Western, we visited that place, it was pretty good, I mean, we liked it, so that could be a possibility too."


Then there are those other schools. At different junctures, Northern Illinois, Michigan, South Florida, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and Rutgers have requested tape of the brothers and have shown some degree of interest.


Illinois is considering offering a scholarship and may still invite the twins for an official visit this weekend.


"We were planning on seeing if Illinois was possible," Bill said. "We might take a visit there this weekend. They might call us and want us to visit.


"We talked to them a couple days ago. They should be calling us back soon."


Indiana has also been in contact recently and according to Bill have said they are considering offers. Rutgers and Arizona were the latest to jump on board, contacting the family Wednesday to state their interest.


Northern Illinois, meanwhile, had been calling almost from the beginning. Now, that interest has tapered off.


"They said they have a situation where they have offered so many DBs and they have a lot of DBs already," Bill said. "So they said if that situation changes, of if the DBs they've offered go other places then they'll probably offer us."


The waiting, and possibility of additional offers, has made a daunting decision weigh even heavier.


"It is tough," Bill said. "It is kind of stressing my parents out, stressing us out a little bit…it's a big decision and schools have to fulfill their needs before they can take you.


"It's going OK, but I just wish it had been over sooner, but it should be over pretty soon."


Soon could be this Friday.


"It is getting down to the wire," Bill said. "We are probably going to think of a decision pretty quick here. We haven't really decided where but we are going to know pretty soon.


"We may announce on Friday."

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