Graham ready to be a Badger

Tight end prospect had plenty of options, but verballed to UW after enjoying his official visit

Garrett Graham has more than 20 scholarship offers and plenty of additional schools showing interest. He only needed one official visit, however, to know where he wanted to play college football.

Graham, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end prospect, took an official visit to Wisconsin over Labor Day weekend and attended the Badgers' win over Central Florida.

"I actually spoke to him right at the opening kickoff when he was at the stadium," said Fred Sprengel, Graham's coach at Brick Township Memorial High School in Brick, N.J. "He said he had an amazing time, was very impressed. Liked everything he saw. He had been on eight or nine unofficial visits to different places and that was his first official visit and he just said that he felt very comfortable. Felt like he fit in. Liked the players he met, talked to. Was very impressed with the coaches, Coach [Barry] Alvarez. He was very impressed with Coach [Brian] White, who recruited him.

"He just, he came home and said he really liked it but didn't say anything and then yesterday he came up to me at practice and said, ‘I'm calling after practice tonight to commit to Wisconsin. And I said, ‘Well you know… there's a long time still. Do you want to take your other officials?' He said, ‘Why? I know where I want to go.'"

So after practice Thursday night Graham called Alvarez and verbally committed, becoming the Badgers' eighth commitment for the 2005 recruiting class.

Less than a minute into a telephone interview Friday afternoon, Sprengel received mail from the University of Alabama asking for Graham's game film. Earlier in the day two college coaches called Sprengel to tell him they would be watching Memorial's game that evening.

"I said, ‘Well, he verballed.' They're like, ‘Well, we're still coming. We're not giving up on this kid,'" Sprengel said.

The Mustangs coach, though, said Graham could not be happier with his decision.

"I think he wants to just put that anguish of the decision behind him," Sprengel said. "He wants to just finish his senior year and not have that hanging over his head.

"He said these last two weeks when [college coaches] can call that it's been every night, just a nightmare."

Graham is typically a nightmare for Brick Memorial's opponents. He plays tight end, defensive end, kick returner, punter and place kicker.

In a 49-6 rout of Middletown North last week, Sprengel said, "He ran the opening kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown. He was 7-for-7 kicking extra points. He punted the ball one time. It was a 30-yard punt and he dropped it on the one-yard line."

Graham also caught two passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns in that game and he only played about half the contest because of Memorial's substantial point spread.

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