Big Noise in a Small Town

Despite the amount of prospects on campus, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema made sure to spend some individual time with some of the top in-state prospects. One of those players is Merrill's Sam Arneson, who is making big noise in a small town.

MADISON - It's hard enough getting a Division 1 scholarship, let alone a player from a small town in northern Wisconsin. Consider Sam Arneson one of the lucky ones, as he has already grabbed his first offer last week from Central Michigan.

"It felt really good, and Central Michigan is a great school that has had success recently," Arneson told Badger Nation Sunday. "To know I have that offer is a good feeling. It's nice to get that first offer, and hopefully it will get things going even more with interest from other schools."

That interest is getting bigger each week, as Arneson found out as Wisconsin's Junior Day.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "We got to see the team workout, which was cool to see with the players. I got to meet the coaches, see the facilities and talk to the players for a little bit, ask them some questions, which I thought was cool. Madison is just a cool school and I get a great feeling about it. It was great to experience all of that.

"I also got invited up to Coach Bielema's office with my parents, which was cool. He told me that they like what they saw on the film and that they want me to come down to some spring practices, probably the spring football game and a three-day camp in the summer so they can get to know me even better, see what I am really about."

Arneson also was able to talk to Tight End coach Joe Rudolph for a good amount of time and talk some X's and O's with Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst.

"They both said that they like my pass catching ability and my blocking," Arneson said. "They also think that I am a quality person, and my high 4.0 grade point average shows that I am also a good student. They are looking forward to pretty much everything – getting to know my personality and my abilities when I come down to camp in the summer."

A tight end, a linebacker and a long snapper for Merrill High, Arneson grabbed 20 passes for 347 yards (17.4 yards per catch average) and five touchdowns during his junior season on offense, and totaled 84 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick on defense.

On the basketball court, Arneson averages 7.3 points per game, playing along side Division 1 basketball recruit Paul Jesperson and his 20-plus points per contest.

"My knowledge to the game and my instincts along with being a physical player (is what I bring)," Arneson said. "On the football field, I feel I can catch the ball and am a good blocker. On basketball, I think I have that physicality and that hard work ethic."

Arneson has been invited to Iowa and Minnesota for Junior Day and Indiana, North Dakota State and Northwestern have asked Arneson to visit, which he plans on honoring during the spring and summer for one-day camps.

"Central Michigan is up there because they gave me my first offer but obviously be a Wisconsin kid, the Badgers are going to be on the top of the list," he said. "If that offer would kid, that's every Wisconsin kid's dream to play for the Badgers. If that offer doesn't come, I'll play for Central Michigan or for another school that might offer."

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