Dreams Do Come True

Tight end Jake Byrne out of Rogers, Ark., gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment back in June. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder ruffled some feathers in his home state by committing to the Badgers but Byrne says that his heart had been pointing to Madison since he was a youngster.

"What most people don't know is that both my parents are from Wisconsin," Jake Byrne told Badger Nation.

"I grew up a huge fan of the Badger. I've always been a Badgers, I don't think I was on the radar of the (Wisconsin) coaching staff until I went to camp in June. I had a great camp and was offered a scholarship.

"After talking things over with my parents, I couldn't turn down the offer from Wisconsin. I loved the campus, the coaches, the facilities and the direction of the program. Wisconsin is among the top programs in the nation."

Byrne did have an offer from Arkansas and if anybody knows anything about the "The Natural State", they like losing their in-state football prospects to other schools as about as much as Wisconsin likes losing their in-state prospects to other schools. Not very much.

"I got some heat because I committed to Wisconsin," Byrne said. "A lot of people were respectful of my decision but there were others who couldn't believe I was leaving the state. Telling the Arkansas coaches that I committed to Wisconsin was one of the toughest things I've had to do.

"My ties to Arkansas don't go as deep as others. I was born in Indiana and I've lived in Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin and now Arkansas. I've been a Badger my whole life. There wasn't anything about Wisconsin that I didn't like so it was an easy decision for me."

Byrne was moved up to the varsity at Rogers were he started every game at left tackle for an injured senior. As a junior, Byrne was moved to wide receiver and eventually became a tight end.

"I'm playing tight end now because of my ability to block and catch the ball," Byrne said. "I started out at tackle so blocking comes natural to me and I've also played wide receiver, tight end seems like the natural fit."

Where do the Wisconsin coaches see Byrne fitting in once he arrives in Madison?

"Coach (Bret) Bielema told me that I'll be a tight end." Byrne said. At camp, Coach Bielema told me that he liked how I ran the field. He also liked my athletic ability for my size. I love to block but I can also run the deep routes."

Byrne told us that he models his game after Jason Whitten of the Dallas Cowboys but also likes the Chiefs Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates from the Charges. When asked what was on his I Pod right now, Jake said everything from Kenny Chesney to Guns and Roses.

In his spare time, Byrne enjoys hunting, fishing and riding ATV's with his father. Jake plans on majoring in engineering. He hasn't set up his official yet. The recruiting efforts for the Badgers were led by Bob Bostad.

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