For Milwaukee Marquette linebacker Marcus Trotter, the motivation is there, but the frustration with his brother, Michael, is not.
Although his brother earned his sixth scholarship offer from Wisconsin after the Badgers first summer camp, Marcus Trotter still stands at three – Illinois State, Northern Iowa and North Dakota. While the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker will admit to be somewhat downtrodden, Marcus Trotter knows that he has much more work to do with plenty of camps left on the schedule.
Even so, Marcus was no slouch at Wisconsin's first camp, getting good reviews and learning valuable techniques, which he shared with Badger Nation.
Badger Nation: Tell us about the Wisconsin camp?
Marcus Trotter: Individually for me, everything actually went really well. Michael and I decided that it was best for us to only go for the two last days because we have more camps coming up. We are going to Maryland this weekend and we don't want to get too tired out with more camps coming up. I had to miss some games last year because of an injury, so I am trying to take it somewhat easy.
We arrived in Madison on Sunday night and met with the coaches and walked over to practice with some other high school players from around the state. We got to talk with other one-day recruits and what they did for us was put us in a special one-day schedule, where we worked in small groups with our position coaches. After that, we got a break and came back for a second session with all the other players that came to the camp, which was really good. Michael and I did good on the testing. I was never the best at the 40 and I didn't do as well as I wanted to do, unfortunately. Coach Bielema told us that they look at the 40, but they look more at how you make plays and how you are as a football player, not as an athlete.
We did a lot of drills with footwork and agility and movement, which was good because I had been doing that for months in our backyard and I could focus on that without a problem. It was nothing new and I did really well. We took a break after that and then did a one-on-one drill with the running backs. We didn't have any pads on so we didn't get a chance to make a lot of contact, but I did enough good things where I was able to shed the blocker and get to the quarterback two out of three times. I did that in front of the coaches, which was good.
After that, we did some 7-on-7 drills and some linebacker drills that I was able to perform really well at. The quarterback hardly threw in my area, so I didn't get a chance to make a lot of plays or show what I could do. I was able to cover the running back and show that I can keep up with them. Wednesday we did basically the same thing with agility drills, linebacker drills, one-on-ones and 7-on-7. Coaches were impressed with my aggressiveness and making almost every tackle in iso drills. It was a great experience and I am very happy with what I am done. Last year coming into camp, I was very stressed out, very tired because of the camps. I was very refreshed and ready to go and showed the coaches what I have.
Coach Bielema told me that he liked how I moved, especially with how big I am. They were really impressed with that. Coach Doeren walked over to the place we were staying and we had about a 10-minute conversation outstanding. It was a good conversation, except that he told me Wisconsin was recruiting me as a mike linebacker and they only have one linebacker spot open. They have already offered a couple people already, but they are going to have more camps and evaluate those people that are going to be at the camp. Basically after that camp, the coaches are going to have a meeting and talk about it and let me know what they decide.
BN: Are you going to be nervous at all after that feedback that you might get an offer?
Trotter: Yeah, it's always a little nerve wracking. To always try to do your best and hope for the best. We're trying to reach perfection and Michael and I do that by pushing each other. Our ideal situation is to go to the same school, but that might not be realistic for us. It's not a heart breaker, but it sucks knowing that one school might like your brother better than you. The funny thing is that no matter how many camps I do, I still get really nervous. I am always very nervous about it and I don't know why. I just try to relax, I've been playing football my whole life and I've worked hard to get to this point. Once you get going on the field, I try to show what I have and have a good time.
Wisconsin has always been a school that we love. It's a great place and we visit there a lot. We love the place and the thing is, I am going to try not to think about it because there is nothing else that I could have done. However long it takes to find out about the scholarship will be nerve wracking, but I have other camps to go to and that will keep my mind away from it. I won't be thinking about what Wisconsin is going to do when I am in front of the Maryland coaches, which will be a good thing. I hope it all works out and if it doesn't, it's not meant to be. I think I am good enough to play at the next level and hopefully some schools out there will think the same way.
BN: How did the Michigan State camp go for you and Michael? There were a lot of coaches there evaluating. Did you have a good experience there, too?
Trotter: Yes we did. We usually do pretty well at the camps we go to. After testing, we did individual drills and I talked to a linebacker coach after the drills and he was very impressed with what I did. On my film, there is a lot me just tackling and not a lot of me with footwork or change of direction, so a lot of people don't have a good idea of my reaction time. For them to see that first hand, they really liked it.
I talked to Bowling Green and Kent State and they both said the same thing – they asked how many offers we have and that they both want me on their team because I am good enough to play on their team. They didn't know a lot about me going into camp and that they want to join this process with us. They both liked how we played and how we did and Michael told them about our clips. They said that they are going to show their head coach the clips and hopefully will offer as soon as possible. We got a lot of positive feedback.
BN: You mentioned that you worked with some of Wisconsin highly-recruited players. What players did you get a chance to meet and work with?
Trotter: I met Konrad Zagzebski from D.C. Everest. I worked with him basically the whole time. He was a three-day camper and almost every drill, we were paired up or examples of the group. He's a great guy. I didn't know much about him except how highly-recruited he is and how much media attention he gets. I really got a chance to know him and he's a really good guy and a really funny guy. Once I heard that he was at camp, I was really excited to be able to play with him and be able to talk to him.
BN: What was it like working with Dave Doeren?
Trotter: I love the guy to death. He's a great coach. The thing I like most about him is he tells is how it is. He's not going to sugarcoat anything. Every drill he sets up is geared toward you becoming a better football player and nothing else. We joke around all the time and Michael is a total goof ball, so he's cracking jokes with him, too. We all have a good chemistry with him. He really knows what he is talking about and I really learned a lot from him. He kept telling me how hard I worked in the drills and how much I have transition in over a year. I turned from a linebacker that loves to hit to a linebacker that loves to hit, has good footwork and has a good eye for the game.
BN: Has the recruiting process been a humbling process for you – going to different schools, getting feedback and getting scholarship offers along the way?
Trotter: Oh yeah, it definitely is. Michael and me have always wanted to play Division 1, ever since sixth grade when we started to learn about football. I had this vision during grade school that coaches would be looking at me for this and that. I never knew that once I started to have success that coaches would start to show interest. It's a great process and I have been working hard on it ever since. I just tried to stay positive through everything, through the injuries and everything that happened. To have schools look at me and say, "this is a guy we want," there's nothing better than that for me.
BN: In addition to the schools you camped at and your scholarship offers, any other schools showing you a lot of interest or implying that if you visit you would get an offer?
Trotter: Akron said they are finalizing an offer but we have to wait to see if they will do so. Just because they said they are offering doesn't guarantee one. Michael takes care of the emailing stuff, but he told me that Northern Illinois emailed us to say that we remind them of some players that play on our team. They would like us to visit, even if it's an unofficial visit, and we're going to try and find a time to come down. It seems like a possibility that we are going to get an offer from them.
Vanderbilt has been sending me a hand written letter almost every week and Indiana would like to see us, especially Michael because they are graduating a lot of safeties. They would like us to come visit and they said there is a very, very, very good chance we would be getting offered after camp.