So the 6-foot-4, 215-pound marksman from Eden Prairie (MN) decided to make somewhat of a spite trip to Madison to show the coaching staff what they were missing out on.
"I only received a few letters from Wisconsin, so I wanted to go to camp to prove to these coaches that I could play Division 1 football," Athey told Badger Nation Tuesday. "I told my mom that I wanted to go to their camp to show them what they are missing."
That chip-on-the-shoulder approach seems to have paid off. While Athey put up decent numbers for Eden Prairie Senior (around 65 percent completion percentage with nine touchdown passes), it was his performance during Monday morning camp session that perked up the ears of Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst.
Working on one day's rest and only able to stay for a couple hours before heading to South Dakota for a baseball tournament, Athey was on his mark with receivers, showing good touch, awareness and footwork, all things that make up a BCS quarterback.
"I think my camp went pretty well," Athey said. "I like how we got there and got a tour of the campus, got to spend a lot of time with the coaches and get the camp experience. I had to leave a little early, so I didn't get the whole experience. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I thought it was a really well run camp. I am hoping to get more feedback from the coaches."
Athey's wish could come true in the coming days. With the Wisconsin coaching staff wanting to take at least one quarterback in the 2011 recruiting class, the Badgers had targeted Florida signal callers Jacob Rudock (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Jacoby Brissett (Dwyer), the only two known quarterback in the class to get an offer from Wisconsin.
On Tuesday, Rudock committed to Iowa. Brissett visited Madison and workout with highly-recruited teammates Curt Maggitt and Nick O'Leary, but the coaching staff told Athey that Brissett may be a long shot.
According to Athey, Chryst, who worked extensively with Athey during his one-day camp, told him that he is on UW's radar and is in the next in line to potentially earn a scholarship offer if Brissett eliminates the Badgers from his recruitment.
"Coach Chryst said they will be keeping in touch, which is good because I am very interested in Wisconsin," Athey said. "Coach Chryst taught me a lot of stuff, which is helpful. He told me not to try as much as I was because I am used to playing baseball and you have a more violent arm motion in baseball. I just really enjoyed Coach Chryst coaching me. He spent a lot of time with me and thought I fit the offense really well and my personality fit the team really well."
"I've been pretty busy," Athey said, "so it's good to be finally done with camps now."
The work hasn't been for not, as Athey received his only scholarship offer from West Virginia, making the Mountaineers his early favorite.
"I was thrilled to get that first offer," said Athey, who speculated that he might grab an offer from Indiana if space allowed. "I've always been a West Virginia fan, so that was good for me, too. I called my parents and they were excited about that.
"It's kind of hard in recruiting if you want to commit right away or wait a little bit. I felt that ever since I got that offer from them, and I am very interested in them, I don't want to make the wrong decision because a lot of schools are still evaluating me. That's a big first step getting the offer, and would be great to go to a school with a great football program and academics."
Continuing to play baseball, Athey hopes to make his decision before the start of his senior season. Thanks for his venture down to Wisconsin, he may have given the Badgers coaching staff a pretty good plan-B option.
"Wisconsin is a great school, a great program and a bunch of my friends had gone there," Athey said. "I just wanted to be seen by them and after going to the camp, I felt like I reached my goal of getting myself seen by them and show them what they could be missing. It was a good step of getting myself more in touch with the coaches."