The Home Stretch

With three camps down and two Big Ten camps to go, Milwaukee Marquette defensive tackle Mark Scarpinato is looking to end his summer camp circuit with a bang.

MADISON - The first week of June was against the norm in the life of Milwaukee Marquette defensive tackle Mark Scarpinato.

A talented athlete who has been focused on extending his football-playing career since last summer, Scarpinato gave himself a week off to compete against Merrill Tight End and UW commit Sam Arneson in the WIAA State Track and Field championships.

"It went really well," Scarpinato told Badger Nation of the event. "I threw 56 feet, 11 inches in shot put, which was a personal record by a foot. I took sixth in that. Sam took 10th (55 feet, .25 inches) and told me he was happy to make it because he is a better at discuss. I didn't do that well in discuss (finished 18th after a throw of 118-10) and Sam finished 6th (169-05). We gave each other a little back and forth."

Scarpinato, an Associated Press second-team all-state honoree after helping the Hilltoppers win the Division 1 WIAA State Championship, has seen his scholarship list grow since the start of the spring evaluation period, yielding offers from Akron, Army, Central Michigan, Florida International, Illinois State, Indiana, North Dakota State, Western Michigan and Wofford.

Still, Scarpinato is looking for more, a main reason he is hitting the summer camp circuit. Scarpinato has already flown to Stanford and traveled to Northwestern and Cincinnati. After competing at Michigan State's one-day game this afternoon, Scarpinato will compete Monday and Tuesday at Wisconsin with one goal in mind.

"I want to prove that I am in the best defensive lineman in the state," Scarpinato said. "I want to go see everyone, see how Sam plays, how (Jake) Keefer plays. If there's a chance that I am going to play with them for five years, I want to see how they act and react. I went to camp all three days last year, so I know how Coach Partridge coaches. It's still important that I see him and show him how I have improved."

Although his friend Sam already has gotten and accepted his Wisconsin offered, Scarpinato has not used the fact that he was slighted as extra motivation to perform admirably at the Badgers' camp.

"Coach Bostad and I talk a lot, and it's something where they wanted to sign three tight-end type guys right away," Scarpinato said. "Talking to Michael Trotter, he had to go to summer camp and earn his offer. He said if feels like a million bucks to go there, destroy everyone and earn your offer.

"I feel like it's a blessing that I didn't get an early offer, so I have to go to work on getting an offer."

While the Badgers have waited to evaluate him, Scarpinato has been getting a new appreciation from some schools he knew nothing about when the process started. While not having any favorites, Scarpinato admits that the relationships he has built with some coaches have made certain schools stick out.

"I think Michigan State is a school that I am starting to like," Scarpinato said. "Coach Salem and I have developed a good relationship. We've talked twice a week pretty much and it's a good relationship there.

"Coach Ross from Army is a great guy. He went to West Point and knows what it takes. Coach Moreland from Western Michigan came from my school, so there's a connection there. I've made a lot of good relationships throughout this recruiting process."

Scarpinato is hoping to make his decision before the start of senior season, a decision that is dependent on how many offers he gets during the camp process.

"I can't make any promises," Scarpinato said. "It's going to be hard with all the good schools I have seen."

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