Coming Head First

When it comes to playing cornerback, athletes can be either passive or aggressive in defending their receiver. Nobody would put Miramar cornerback Steve Montgomery in the former category, a main reason why schools have targeted him to improve their secondary.

MADISON - With all the success being bestowed upon the Wisconsin coaching staff by in-state talent, rest assured the Badgers coaches haven't forgotten about the fertile recruiting grounds.

Although UW has six verbal commitments all from within its state borders, the Badgers are sitting well with many recruits from Florida and Ohio, two areas that have provided a plethora of talent in recent years.

One of the players from the former that has caught the eye of Wisconsin is Miramar cornerback Steve Montgomery, a three-star cornerback and the 58th-best at his position in the country by

With Defensive Line Coach Charlie Partridge handling his recruitment, pitching the opportunity for early playing time and the need for talent, it was no surprise to see Montgomery put Wisconsin in his early top five.

"I don't have a top five, but it's five schools that stick out for me and Wisconsin is definitely one of them," Montgomery told Badger Nation. "Coach Partridge has been telling me a lot and he's been telling me that I can come up and play right away. That's a big plus for me. We talk a lot and he makes me feel like I can come into the Big Ten right away and make a splash."

Montgomery (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) has already made an impact on the high school scene in south Florida. Putting his name on the recruiting map at McArthur High last season, Montgomery used physical play to finish his junior season with 68 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

"I think anybody that watches me play will know that I am not going to back down from anybody," Montgomery said. "I don't care who the receiver is or who I am going against, but I am going to leave it all on the field. I think that any defense with that type of player on it is going to be better. I am a leader on the field and I think I am a DB that is going to come up head first and take someone out. I am a hard-nosed, aggressive guy."

Montgomery started talking to Partridge during the spring evaluation period in May, a relationship that developed with a 30-minute in-person conversation with Partridge, a phone call to Head Coach Bret Bielema and a scholarship offer.

"Ever since then, we keep in contact and we talk a lot," Montgomery said. "(Partridge) is a good guy and he comes down here a lot and gets a lot of good players, like the running back from St. Thomas Aquinas (James White). He's been doing some good things."

It's that notoriety that made Montgomery put Wisconsin in his early top five along with Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. All have offered except the Seminoles.

Montgomery also has offers from Illinois, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Kansas, Marshall, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, UCF, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

"I wouldn't say I have a favorite because I am still trying to evaluate things," Montgomery said, who wants to have a solid top five by August 1. "I'll know where I stand at the end of the summer when I can take some visits and be able to see what other offers come in. Those five schools are the ones that stick out to me because of the coaching staffs.

"When the head coach is talking to me, I know they are really interested. When Wisconsin did that, I knew they really wanted me."

Spending the summer in the classroom, Montgomery is planning for a winter commitment after his five official visits. That way he can graduate early and enroll early at the school of his choice, eyeing the extra practice reps he will get in spring ball to enhance his adaptation to the college game.

"Enrolling early is the number one thing on my board," Montgomery said. "I talked to my parents and coaches about it and they told me the sooner you can get to a school and start learning the plays, the quicker you can get on the field. I want to play in the spring, which is why I get some summer classes out of the way."

Montgomery was quick to point out that his reasoning was another reason he likes Wisconsin, a school that is need of good young cornerbacks to step right on to the field and contribute.

"That's the main thing," Montgomery said. "I looked at their roster and they have a lot of upperclassmen at safety. I will able to come in right away and start learning as a defensive back and the spread."

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