When Secondary Coach Ron Cooper visits the home of Kurt Ware this evening, he will try to further convince the 6-5, 240-pound tight end/defensive end to become the next major link between the state of Texas and the Wisconsin football program.
Ware is being recruited as an athletic tight end by the Badgers, and particularly given the events of this week, the chances for him to come to UW have increased considerably. Two days ago, Texas A&M Coach R.C. Slocum was fired (the news was actually broken to him by Badger Nation), which was a total shock.
Ware said Texas A&M was near the top of this list of finalists, but that might not be the case anymore.
"Coach Slocum was a pretty cool coach," Ware said. "I don't know about (Texas A&M) because if I don't know the coach, pardon my French, but he might be a (jerk)," Ware said.
Ware will have plenty of exposure to the Badgers over the next few weeks. He will have the in-home visit from Cooper this evening, then fly to Madison two days later for his official visit. Meanwhile, the Badgers have accepted an invitation to play in the Alamo Bowl, giving the program further exposure in the Lone Star State.
Ware was visited by Arizona State Monday night, Tulane last evening and Pittsburgh will visit Thursday night. But Ware said he is not considering any of those schools. His list of finalists includes the Badgers, Florida, Arkansas and Iowa State, with the Aggies now sitting on the fence.
Ware began to take a look at Wisconsin early in his high school career because he was a fan of Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.
"I like the Badgers a lot when Ron Dayne was there. He was pretty good," Ware said. "That's why (I started considering them)."
Ware played wide receiver and defensive end for 2-8 Klein Oak in Spring, Texas, but is being recruited by UW as a tight end.
"I would rather play defense, but I will play wherever they need me to," Ware said. "Arizona State is the (only) school that is recruiting me (exclusively) for defense, but that doesn't matter."
Despite his team's losing record, Ware has garnered a lot of attention around the state because of his uncanny speed and athletic ability.
"I can chase down the ball, I can get off blocks quickly, and I have a lot of speed," Ware said.
Ware's brother, Kevin, plays for Washington, which Kurt Ware said opened the door to leaving the state to play football. He isn't overly excited about staying in-state for college.
"You've seen Texas. It's pretty much all cactus or grass," Ware joked.
Ware said he's looking forward to taking a look at Wisconsin's campus, football facilities, and in particular, the weight room. He is also excited to learn about his academic possibilities in Madison. He plans to enter college undecided, but is interested in criminal justice, psychology and sociology.
Most of all, he's thrilled that he's been able to stay focused and play Division I football, unlike a lot of his friends from childhood.
"We used to play street football every day after school," Ware said. "It started when I was in first grade. The whole street would play. Unfortunately, my brother and I are the only ones that made it. Other guys got caught up in problems and stuff.
"My brother was really (important) in seeing what kind of trouble you can get into, because he got into a little trouble here before he left. So I kind of stay away from everything."