Here is part one of this three-part interview. An additional, 2,250-word edition will be available in the Badger Nation Recruiting Yearbook, which comes out in March.
Badger Nation: What are your overall impressions of this class?
Jeremy Sinz: Overall impressions I would say I'm very happy with the way things turned out. As coach (Barry Alvarez) mentioned in his press conference, the thing that probably excites me the most about this class is the fact that we put together our board last year of who we thought would be the top players at each position and that we would have a chance to recruit and get at the University of Wisconsin and we were very successful in sticking to that plan
For the most part, the great majority of those positions we have attained guys that we had as basically the guys at the very top of our board. Any time you spend the amount of time we do to evaluate kids and end up with the kids you think are the best ones you've seen than you are pretty happy and I think we did a good job with that.
BN: What is your philosophy with recruiting? Do you go after players that excite you the most or do you look at positions of need?
JS: I think you definitely have to have a little bit of both. You have to understand what the strengths of your team are. You also have to look to the future and what the senior class of next year is going to be. But [coach Barry Alvarez] has said we will never turn down a great player. Whatever the position, whatever the situation that we have on our team at the time if you see a great player—and I will tell you those guys jump out on film after about two, three minutes of watching—you'll never turn those guys down. For the most part we try to recruit kids—obviously the more speed you have the better off you are. We try to find kids that really like football, kids that it's important to win. We kind of go from there. Kids that aren't willing to work hard haven't been real successful in coach Alvarez's program, so we try and find guys that football is really important to them—kids that are going to work and through our system be very successful at the University of Wisconsin.
BN: Alvarez, during the press conference, mentioned how important it was to get guys who play multiple positions. Is that something that you stress?
JS: Well I think the best part about guys who play more than one position it is easier to project them at a variety of positions. Guys that, in high school, quite often, depending on styles of offense, the team's most athletic player maybe plays quarterback. Whereas maybe in another system the team's best player plays tailback. Those guys might not be a quarterback in college, might not be a tailback in college but the nice thing about that is you get to watch them and assess them on video. It's hard to find guys that are great corners in high school because 99 percent of the time you don't ever see the guy on film. They pan to the middle of the screen and you never see the guy—you see him backpedal once every 35 plays or something or when you throw the ball to his guy you see him hopefully bat the ball way or intercept it. The best part about having multi-position players, A, it helps to evaluate them because you see them on film more and, B, it helps you a little bit projecting them into different position because you see them do a lot of different athletic moves at different positions.
JS: Yeah, and the other thing with Andy, the other thing that we haven't talked about yet but helps a great deal is if you get kids to your camp. There is no substitute for having kids in your camp because now—it's a two-way street. I tell our coaches all the time and I tell the kids all the time—it's a two-way street—not only do we get a chance to assess this kid, he gets a chance to work with us and figure out what he thinks of our staff too. But to have kids in camp is a tremendous advantage because, for the most part you can ask those kids to do whatever you want to do. So a kid like Andy Crooks who you want to project somewhere you can ask him to do a variety of drills and workouts. Obviously, let's be honest, that's why a great majority of these kids are going to camps too—to showcase their talents—but that certainly helps us.
Andy is a perfect example of that. He is a big athlete that can play a number of positions and for now we are going to give him a shot at linebacker because that is an area we have a need and who knows, three years from now maybe he is an all-conference tight end. Who the heck knows? We'll see.