Casillas thrives on the track

Badger football signee posted a 21.7 in the 200 meters

Jonathan Casillas, a three-sport star at New Brunswick (N.J.) High School and a class of 2005 football recruit for the University of Wisconsin, created a bit of a stir with a couple of track marks he posted recently.

"I ran some good times a couple weeks ago," Casillas said in a recent telephone interview.

Good? That is an understatement.

Competing in a dual meet about two weeks ago, Casillas was credited with a 21.7-second 200-meter dash and a 10.4 in the 100, according to the Cranbury Press. Casillas said his 100 result was actually closer to a 10.5, but either way the time was significantly better than his personal best 10.7 last spring.

To put Casillas' marks in perspective, Wisconsin's highly touted men's track team has only one sprinter in each of those events who has topped Casillas' results this spring. Dan Goesch, a sophomore, has run a 21.51 in the 200. And Demi Omole posted a 10.32 in the 100 in qualifying at the Drake Relays this weekend. Prior to Friday, though, Omole's top 100 time this outdoor season was a 10.54.

"Track's good," Casillas said. "I'm getting into shape. I'm getting used to running out there."

Before donning his sprinter's shoes, Casillas thrived on the hardcourt and the gridiron for New Brunswick this academic year.

In basketball, New Brunswick reached a sectional semifinal before losing 65-60 to eventual Group III champion Malcolm X Shabazz.

Casillas, who recently participated in a New Jersey-Connecticut basketball all-star game, said he averaged about 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists per game.

Casillas checked in at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds during the football season — where he thrived as a linebacker (90 tackles, 16 sacks) and wide receiver (20 catches, 410 yards, eight touchdowns) — and has held steady at that weight through his three sports seasons.

"Track has been consistent weight but I'm in the weight room so I'm getting a little stronger," he said. "Track is not letting me gain weight. But as soon as it is over I'm going to try to gain at least 10 pounds before I leave (for Wisconsin)."

Casillas was recruited as an outside linebacker or strong safety.

"Last time I talked to [Wisconsin's coaches] they were talking about weak side linebacker and strong safety," Casillas said. "I'll play any position they want as long as I can get on the field and contribute, help the team."

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