Long Road Leads Back to Wisconsin

It's been three years since Kyle McCorison was tearing up the football field and basketball court at Altoona High School (Wis.). But now the middle linebacker is back in Wisconsin, making substantial contributions to the Badgers in a walk-on capacity.

It's been a long road for linebacker Kyle McCorison, but things are finally coming together the way he dreamed they would as a high school star at Altoona High School in Wisconsin.

McCorison, a 6-0, 235-pound linebacker, is Altoona's all-time leading rushing and scoring leader, and he is the school's No. 2 all-time scorer in basketball. But middle linebacker is the position he was best suited for in college.

And after a detour to Northern Iowa, where he received a scholarship and sat out one season before playing as a redshirt freshman in 2000, McCorison has finally found a place with the Badgers. Wisconsin recruited McCorison out of high school, but did not offer him a scholarship.

Things didn't go very well for McCorison at Northern Iowa, and he decided to contact former UW tight ends coach Tim Davis to walk-on after two years.

"I just really wasn't happy at (Northern Iowa)," McCorison said. "Some things happened that I wasn't happy with, and I didn't feel too comfortable. I figured if I was going to transfer, (that) was the time. I knew I wanted to come here, so I got my release as fast as possible and then got in contact with the coaches here."

McCorison immediately made a name for himself during spring football, and has been a major factor on special teams early this season. Last week, when starting middle linebacker Jeff Mack went down with a stinger, McCorison stepped into the No. 1 defensive role.

"I'm trying to get on the field as much as possible, whether it be on special teams or linebacker," McCorison said. "I'm getting my chance at the field. I just go hard every day in practice, and I have to be ready in case Jeff goes down like he did last Saturday. My confidence is the biggest thing. I'm happy with the way things are going. But they can definitely get a lot better."

It's not easy for McCorison as a junior walk-on. He's not eligible for a scholarship, and his playing eligibility will run out before he would become eligible to receive one in the future. While his defensive teammates talk over the day's practice at training table every night, McCorison has to go home and fend for himself (walk-ons are not fed at training table).

"It's hard to be a walk-on, paying for your school, working hard every day doing the same stuff as all the other guys," McCorison said. "It definitely makes it more difficult when you have to make ends meet. But I'm just happy to be here. I'm excited for the season."

McCorison is a lifelong Badger fan that idolized the likes of Donnel Thompson as a high school player, and now he is finally living a dream. Whether he's contributing almost exclusively on special teams, or starting (which is a slim possibility if Mack isn't ready to go by Saturday), he's just thrilled to be a part of the program.

"It was hard sitting out a year, being ineligible and having to sit out practice, but it's definitely paying off this year. I'm just trying to do my best every time I get out there," McCorison said. "I (appreciate) the guys really accepting me right away coming in. The guys were great, the coaches were great. They accepted me right away, I've made a lot of new friends, and it was a really smooth transition. It's been a really good experience."

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