The Silver Lining

After he tore his ACL, thinking for a time that his college career could be over, Florida-prep safety Vlad Emilien is on his way to making a full recovery and has narrowed down his college choices, with a couple of caveats.

PLANTATION, Fla. – When Vlad Emilien landed on his knee wrong last season and felt his ACL pop, he knew he was in for trouble and that his future as a college defensive back would be in trouble.

After full reconstructive surgery and having to wait two months before he could start jogging or running, Emilien finds himself blessed to getting back to playing ability.

"Right now, the injury is really not affecting anything but I hopefully will play by the sixth or seventh games this season," Emilien told Badger Nation. "Hopefully, we'll make it to the playoffs and I'll be 100 percent by then. I thought I had lost my college opportunity when I hurt my knee, but the schools that offered stood by me. I'm working like crazy to get back to 100%."

So while Emilien was forced to remain on the sidelines, the 41st-ranked safety in the country by Scout did the only thing he could do, start researching the 30+ scholarship offered he had received.

Focusing on the academics/education they provide (Emilien hopes to be a business and finance major) first and the team's depth chart second, Emillien worked hard to trim his scholarship offers down to six.

"I had a lot of time to research the schools because of my injury and I looked really close at all the schools to try and figure out what schools were the best fit for me," Emilien said. "The six schools I picked are North Carolina, Ohio State, South Florida, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Florida. All the schools have offered but Florida and if they don't offer me by the time I visit September 6th, I am going to replace them with Stanford."

One school absent from Emilien's tentative final six is Wisconsin. A school that has been showing strong interest in Emilien since early 2008 and had been recruiting him hard as of late, Emilien really likes his relationship with the Badgers and recruiting coach Kerry Cooks and would love to make the Badgers one of his finalists. The problem for Emilien is that Wisconsin is down to five available scholarships for the Class of 2009. While he wants to take a closer look at Wisconsin, Emilien doesn't want to be rushed in the process.

"Right now, Wisconsin is way up there and they could be in my top six," he said. "I talked to the coaches recently but I don't think they are recruiting me as hard because they only have five open spots left (for the Class of 2009). Coach Cooks sent me a letter telling me that and I don't want to rush into a decision right now. I don't want to commit somewhere and make the right decision. If more spots open up, I will put (Wisconsin) back in there but right now, it's too quick for me to make a decision."

Possessing the size (6-0, 190 pounds), speed (4.5 40-yard time) and strength to be one of the top safeties in South Florida, Emilien reads offensive plays well and is stellar in closing on short and intermediate routes and is physical enough to play close to the line of scrimmage.

Planning on graduating in December and enrolling at the school of his choice in January, Emilien plans on making his birthday a special one this year.

"I am trying to make my decision November 23, my birthday," he said. "It might be sooner but I want to give myself a birthday present by definitely announcing my decision by then. I honestly want to play. I think I could play at a big-time level and am looking forward to the challenge."

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