Experiences Outweighs Loss

Although the football game was the last image he experienced on his trip, Florida safety Vlad Emilien was more concerned with the campus and atmosphere at the University of Wisconsin, two things he thoroughly enjoyed.

MADISON - Despite the Badgers' football season spiraling out of control and putting a poor product on the field, the recruits that Wisconsin is bringing in for visits are taking the struggles with a grain of salt.

For Florida prep safety Vlad Emilien, he was more concerned about how he would enjoy the atmosphere and campus when he visited Madison on the weekend of October 11. Although the Badgers lost by 41 to Penn State, Emilien said the trip was a sound success.

"It's a big, beautiful campus and everything that could go well went well and it exceeded expectations," Emilien told Badger Nation. "I had a great time with the players and the coaches. The team didn't play well and had a downfall, but I saw that they grew together as a team because they bonded like a family and I want to go to a school that treats me like family.

"The atmosphere was very cool and I loved it. I could see myself at Wisconsin for four years but I have to visit other schools to see which school really fits me."

Wisconsin was Emilien first official visit and is planning on going to Michigan this weekend for its game against in-state rival Michigan State and to Stanford in mid-November. Emilien also is considering a trip up to Minnesota in early November to check out the Gophers, as head coach Tim Brewster and his staff have started talking to Scout's 40th-ranked safety.

As of right now, Emilien's top six (in no particular order) are Wisconsin, Michigan, Wake Forest, Central Florida, Ohio State and Stanford. He is still planning on announcing his commitment on November 23, which is his birthday.

"I have high expectations because I've seen one Big Ten school that raised my expectations so my expectations have grown higher for Michigan," said Emilien about his visit this weekend. "I hope I have a good time up there and hopefully, everything goes well."

It's been a tough year for Emilien, who has missed his entire senior season after full reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ACL. Although there is a chance that Emilien could come back and help his team by the end of the season, the senior has decided to sit the season out, make sure his leg is at full strength and be ready to go by the time spring football rolls around at the college of his choice.

"My leg has healed pretty well and I am trying to strengthen it back to 100 percent," he said. "Basically, I am on schedule with the doctors to clear me but I feel ahead of schedule and that I will be ready to leave for my school in January and play spring ball. I don't want to risk my whole career for a high school football game with my whole career right in front of me.

"It hurts that I can't play my senior year and that I can't contribute to the wins that the team is producing for the school. As of right now, I am more concerned about my own health than risking my body for a high school career instead of turning that into a college or pro career. I am not trying to risk that."

At 6-0 and 190 pounds, Emilien, despite the injury, still is one of the top safeties in South Florida, who reads offensive plays well, is stellar in closing on short and intermediate routes and is physical enough to play close to the line of scrimmage.

Emilien also has solid character traits and is going to be a good addition to whichever school he chooses.

"I believe in myself. I am very humble, very hardworking and I am not going to cause any trouble because I am not a trouble kid," he said. "I am a very genuine kid that is going to work for my degree and take his game to the next level if he can. I have never been disrespectful to my elders and I always give respect and just want people to respect me. I am going to do my work and get my education, because my education means more than money to me."

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