Atmospheric Connection

After taking an official visit to Wisconsin on September 6, Eric prep star A.J. Fenton wanted to take one more visit before making his decision. When a familiar face showed up at his high school practice on Monday, however, Fenton knew that Wisconsin was the right place for him.

MADISON - Traveling home after his official visit to Wisconsin on September 6, Erie (Pa.) McDowell's A.J. Fenton knew that the Badgers were at the top of his list. Down to two schools, Fenton still wanted to take an official visit to hometown Pittsburgh on September 20 before officially making his decision.

When his recruiting coach, Badger tight end coach Joe Rudolph, showed up at his practice Monday afternoon, Fenton decided that he couldn't wait any longer to make his choice.

Boasting a solid relationship with all of Wisconsin's coaches and still in awe over the atmosphere and Madison being a true college town, Fenton gave his verbal commitment to Rudolph and Wisconsin, becoming the next member of the Badgers' 2009 recruiting class.

"It just felt right," Fenton told Badger Nation Monday. "Coach Rudolph came to practice today and I had thought about the decision the night before. I thought about it two weeks before and Wisconsin is where I want to be, it's where I feel most comfortable and it's where I want to go to school. I didn't feel the need to wait any longer. Everything about Madison makes it where I want to be."

Rudolph, a Pennsylvania native, and Fenton had developed a relationship long before the Badgers offered Fenton in March 2006. While Fenton kept receiving offers from schools like Illinois, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Syracuse, his relationship with Wisconsin and Rudolph stayed in tact.

When Rudolph used his off day to travel out to Erie to watch him and his teammates during practice, Fenton knew that his official visit to Pittsburgh this weekend was no longer necessary.

"We have a real good relationship and it means a lot to me for him to come all the way out to practice a week after I just left town," Fenton said. "I knew then that Wisconsin was still strong wanting me that it made it the right choice."

Ranked at the 16th strong side linebacker in the country, Fenton is not sure which linebacker position he will be playing at Wisconsin, as the coaching staff has given no indication as to where he is going to fit in. Fenton also will wait to start practice with his new team after he graduates with the rest of his classmates in the spring, stating ‘I've been 11 years to be a senior and I want to enjoy it a little bit.'

One of the benefits to being a senior is being able to stay up late and Fenton used to his benefit by staying up to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and watching his future team beat No.21 Fresno State, 13-10, in Fresno.

"I love that they are physical," Fenton said of the Badgers. "They are one of the most physical teams I have seen and that grabs me as the kind of team that I want to play for."

At 6-2' and weighing in at 208 pounds, Fenton is one of the driving offensive forces for McDowell H.S. as the team's starting running back and the occasional quarterback. With his team sitting at 2-1, Fenton has 48 carries for 410 yards and 7 touchdowns and is 7-for-17 for 280 yards and three touchdowns when throwing the ball.

Although his offensive numbers are nice, Fenton is really looking forward to playing on the other side of the football at college.

"Yeah I am looking forward to it!" Fenton said with a laugh. "Who wouldn't be? A little challenge but it will be fun to switch it up and hit some people. I am definitely looking forward to that."

He'll get that chance at the University of Wisconsin.


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