Getting the Honest Treatment

After coming to Madison on an unofficial visit in the spring, Ohio linebacker Cameron Ontko was told be head coach Bret Bielema that if he performed well at UW's camp, he would walk away with a scholarship. After a blazing 4.43 40-yard time, the fastest at a UW camp in the last three, Ontko got his prize.

MADISON - Last season the Badgers lost two talented starting outside linebackers in Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy. Both Casillas and Levy were fast, athletic, and had huge playmaking ability. Cameron Ontko (Walsh Jesuit HS) may have exactly what the Badgers' coaching staff is looking for in a linebacker.

The 5-foot 11, 205-pound outside linebacker from Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) helped lead his team to a 9-3 record and a third round loss to eventual Division 3 State Champion Aurora. Ontko tallied 105 tackles, two interceptions, seven tackles for loss and four sacks on the defensive side of the ball while racking up 1,000 yards rushing as a running back.

Ontko has received interest from around the country. He is being recruited by the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Georgia Tech (offer), Georgia, Kentucky, Purdue, Penn State, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan (offer) and North Carolina.

Like most prospects, Ontko is in the process of visiting campuses across the country and attending camps to show what he can do on the field. His most recent visit was to Wisconsin.

"I was only there for the one-day camp because I was on a bus tour. I ended up leaving the bus tour to visit Wisconsin with my parents," Ontko said. "What we did was we ran the 40 and did the shuttle. In the 40 I ran a 4.43, and I'm pretty sure that was a laser time, and my shuttle was a 4.03. After that we broke into position groups and I was with Coach Doeren, the LB coach. We did footwork, drops into coverage, and just a bunch of drills. After that I ended up getting something to eat at the Union. It was a great place and I really enjoyed that."

However, the day wasn't completely over for Ontko after lunch. "After that it was the second session," Ontko explained. "We came back and did more LB drills. Actually, when the LB broke off to go inside, I stayed with the DBs, with the safeties and corners, to do 1-on-1s. They wanted me to do that. After that I showered and had a meeting with Coach Bielema."

That was when the Badgers join Georgia Tech and Eastern Michigan on Ontko's offer list. "The meeting went great," Ontko said. "Coach Bielema ended up offering me. He (Coach Bielema) said ‘We are going to give you $160,000' and I was just shocked. It just hit me and I was very excited. I was waiting for this offer. I was up there with both of my parents and he showed us the view and it is awesome."

Wisconsin isn't the only place Ontko and his family have visited. Ontko has been busy visiting campuses all over the country. "I have visited Ohio State a bunch of times, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Georgia, and a few others," Ontko said.

The Badgers and Madison have made an impression on Ontko and his family. "I would definitely rate it above all of the other campuses," Ontko explained. "I liked the lakes and thought it was really cool to be next to those lakes. My parents and I were just amazed. I want to go to a winning program, a place with good academics, campus, and social life. As well as, obviously, good coaches. I think that the Wisconsin coaches are just way better than all of the other coaches out there."

This wasn't the first time that Ontko had visited Madison. "They started recruiting me after last year's football season. They are recruiting me at OLB, but have mentioned safety a little. I was there in the Spring for a practice and he (Coach Bielema) actually brought me into his office," Ontko said. "He said if I came to camp and I did well I would have an offer. He is very truthful and he kept his word and he offered me."

Coach Rudolph has been Ontko's main contact for Wisconsin. "He is a great person. He always told me, ‘You can call me whenever you want and you won't be bothering me.' He is a great person."

While Wisconsin was the most recent to offer Ontko, there may be more offers on the horizon for this Ohio LB. "I think after I got this Wisconsin offer there could be some more coming in," Ontko said. "Even Ohio State told me that there was a really good possibility that they would offer."

Ontko said that the Wisconsin coaching staff has put no pressure on him to make a decision, however, he does have a timetable in mind. "I would think that I would commit before the season," Ontko said. "I have a couple of camps left, Ohio State and Michigan State. It could be even after the Ohio State camp."

Like many prospects that grow up in the Buckeye State, Ontko has followed the Buckeyes very closely over the years. It was always sort of a dream to play for the Buckeyes growing up. "In a way, but I realize that I think I would be able to play faster at Wisconsin. I think I actually like Wisconsin more than Ohio State," Ontko said.


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