Belotti discusses camp circuit

Justin Belotti, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound class of 2007 defensive back/wide receiver prospect at Kenosha (Wis.) Bradford High School, recently attended summer football camps at Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.

Justin Belotti, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound class of 2007 defensive back/wide receiver prospect at Kenosha (Wis.) Bradford High School, recently attended three summer football camps.

"I actually just got back from a few," Belotti said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I think it was about two weeks ago I went to Northern Illinois day camp. I was working with the receivers and the DBs. It went pretty good and I talked to (assistant head coach Sam) Pittman who came up to my school recruiting me a little bit. He said he was going to talk and then get back to me. I guess they like me pretty well, so that went well.

"I went to Wisconsin this past weekend (June 18-20) for the three-day camp, and (spoke with wide receivers coach Henry) Mason and (tight ends coach Bob) Bostad, who are the recruiters from Wisconsin that I've talked to; I talked to (head coach Bret) Bielema a little bit. They said they liked me, they wanted to keep in touch, get me back up there for a game or something.

"Then I just went to Western Michigan on Thursday for a day camp and talked to (tight ends coach Jake) Moreland and I guess I had the fastest 40 and shuttle time for all the one-day camps. I was working with DB coach (Clayton White), just me, because there wasn't any (other) DBs there that day, and it was just me working with him. He liked me, and I went with the receivers too. I was running pretty good routes, catching balls and they seemed to like me. I talked to Moreland a little bit afterwards and he said he liked me…. (He said) he's probably going to give me a call back in a few weeks and then try to come catch a game. He said they are not offering early. To get an offer right now, it's pretty big, but they want to talk to me some more, get me down there again."

Belotti said the Western Michigan coaches did not divulge his times from their one-day camp, but he said he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and a 4.18 20-yard shuttle at the Northern Illinois camp. At Wisconsin Belotti said he recorded a 4.13 and a 4.10 on his two shuttle runs.

Belotti does not yet have a scholarship offer; Division I programs like Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan want him to compile a highlight film from early in his senior season before they consider tendering him.

"A couple of (coaches) are saying they are going to come catch a couple of my first few games," Belotti said. "And then they were saying after about my first three games they want me to put together a little tape of my best plays for the first three games and send it to them because they want to see a little bit more defense… on those tapes."

Belotti was an honorable-mention all-area choice at wide receiver last season after catching 42 passes for 671 yards and three touchdowns. He also rotated in at cornerback and safety and this fall will play wide receiver and corner full-time. He is being recruited at both positions currently, but his lack of height may mandate that he plays in the secondary in the college.

"I don't think any school really is sure yet what they want me to play," Belotti said. "I run good routes and whatnot to play receiver but I'm still a little short I guess for some schools. I know Wisconsin is known for tall receivers.

"But then I haven't had enough highlight tapes for defense. I didn't play as much defense as I did offense last year so defensively they don't have much film on me. This year I'm going both ways the whole game to try to get some more film out to those guys and let them know I can play both…

"I'm going to be a corner (this season), but last year I bounced around a lot on defense, just wherever they needed me in certain games. Like if there was a good receiver, I'd play corner, but usually I would play safety because I could go up and help the run a little bit better."

Belotti said he thoroughly enjoyed his camp experiences, though he wished he would have attended the second Badger football camp because he had heard that the latter event included a more talented complement of players, including UW wide receiver commitment Nick Toon. "I wish I would have gone to the second one and compared myself to those guys," Belotti said.

At the Wisconsin camp Belotti re-broke his finger for the third time in less than a year. He originally suffered the injury in football last fall, then aggravated it in January playing catch with his high school team's quarterback. He broke it again last week.

"It has been coming out a lot, like in the middle of plays," Belotti said. "…At the Badger camp I think I hit it off somebody's pads or something while I was blocking (and) it came out of place again… I've just been taping it a lot, just trying to deal with it."

In addition to UW, WMU and NIU, Belotti is also receiving interest from Penn, a Division I-AA program that cannot offer athletic scholarships because of its membership in the Ivy League.

"They want me to come down there and see what they have to offer," Belotti said.

Other Division I-AA and Division II programs are also showing interest.

"I actually was working with a coach from South Dakota," Belotti said. "… He was coaching at the Wisconsin. He said he'd liked me (and) he would give me a call…

"And then I've been talking to schools like Winona State… Then my coach talked to North Dakota State… but they are not a school that offers early but if they were they probably would have offered me already…

"I haven't been getting any offers. I'm getting phone calls, letters, e-mails, whatnot. It seems like they want to (offer) but offers are a pretty big deal and they don't want to waste them… But I'm still looking for a big one."

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