For a typical college student, a new semester gives one the chance to start over. Whether taking different classes, finding better study habits or choosing to party a little harder, a new semester provides a clean slate. For freshman Demi Omole, a new semester gave him the opportunity to start over at a completely different school.
After transferring at semester from the University of Florida because it was too far from home, the Milwaukee native is now attending UW-Madison.
Luckily for Badger athletics, Omole brought his speed with him. He was on a track scholarship at Florida and has continued to remain on scholarship for track at Wisconsin. He has jumped right into the Wisconsin track team and is known as one of the better sprinters not only on the current squad but in Badger history. His 60-meter dash time of 6.72 seconds is the fourth fastest in UW history. His efforts also helped him get his name on the second-team All-Big Ten list for the indoor season. Omole provisionally qualified for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships, but missed the cut by one-hundredth of a second when the final qualifiers were announced Tuesday.
Besides using his quickness on the track, Omole is following the trend of many other track athletes by going out for the football team as well. In Milwaukee he played football for Whitefish Bay Dominican High School and for the moment he is walking on with the Badgers as a wide receiver. During his junior season at Dominican, Omole caught 15 passes for 329 receiving yards.
"I always intended on doing football here," Omole said. "I talked to (receivers coach Henry Mason) a couple of times. I was getting recruited here for football [coming out of high school]. So at first I thought track was the only thing I wanted to do but once I realized that football was my first love I decided I'd come here and come out."
Though Omole is out practicing with the team during spring practices, his future on the field at Camp Randall is still in question. Like his fellow two-sport teammate, freshman jumper and wide receiver Paul Hubbard, he cannot play in a football game as long as he is on scholarship for track. If football were to offer him a scholarship, or if he were to forego his track scholarship, Omole would be able to compete. He claims that at the moment spring practices are a trial for him and once April 10 comes around, he will know whether or not the football team decides to offer him a scholarship.
Besides getting speed from Omole this year, Badger athletics will also welcome another fast freshman next season – Antonio Freeman. The Wauwatosa West High School star will join Wisconsin next year at cornerback for the football team and as a sprinter on the track team.
Freeman will have a familiar face along his side in his close friend Omole. They competed against each other in high school track meets but ran side-by-side for the Milwaukee Striders club team.
"That's my buddy," Omole said. "Antonio's like my little brother. I'm excited for him to come next year. There are no rivalries between us. People try to create some but there's just never been a rivalry."
Omole has many goals for the spring football season and the forthcoming outdoor track season.
"My goal is to make it to nationals in outdoor and for our team to score 200 points in the outdoors," Omole said. "For football, I'm just hoping to get a good spot on the depth chart because we're deep in receivers. So I'm just hoping to be able to participate in special teams or something and do what I got to do for the team."