After having six verbal commitments all from the state of Wisconsin, the Badgers got number seven when 6-foot-1, 195-pound Brookfield Academy Wide Receiver Frederick Willis gave his verbal commitment to UW Friday.
Brookfield Academy Coach Dan Lutz confirmed the news to Badger Nation.
"Our school is unique because they believe in academics first," said Lutz of Willis, who also carries a high B average in the classroom. "You have to be academically motivated to play sports or you won't succeed. It's very hard standards and to succeed in sports speaks to the kind of player a person is … Fred is going to fit in great (at Wisconsin)."
Willis, who picked Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Army and Harvard as well as recruiting interest from Eastern Illinois, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, LSU, North Dakota State and Stanford, follows a similar trend of in-state players earning an offer before coming to the Badgers' camp.
Wide receiver is a position of importance for Wisconsin this recruiting cycle. In addition to the Badgers losing three seniors at wide receivers after 2010, Wisconsin will have to replace departed freshman Kraig Appleton and might have to replace junior Nick Toon, who could forego his senior season for the NFL.
With the void, Head Coach Bret Bielema extended an offer to Willis before camp but he didn't that stand in the way of his camp performance.
"The first time I saw him, I knew he was going to be a good player because he's got the whole package," Lutz said. "He's got great hands, which a lot of people don't realize. He can obviously jump and he knows how to play the ball in the air. I think he's going to work out to be a real good college receiver."
Willis was hardly unknown before coming to Wisconsin's camp. Helping Academy to an 8-2 record, Willis caught 30 passes for 444 yards and six touchdowns, also running for 172 yards and two scores on 16 carries.
Willis' skills extend well beyond the football field. A second-team all-conference selection in basketball, Willis' speed helped him win the 100 meter dash (10.88), 200 meter dash (22.23) and 4x200 meter relay (1:29.86) at the WIAA Division 3 state track and field meet, stats that don't include his second place finish in the high jump (6-.07)
Named to the all-combine team at the Nike Combine in Chicago, Willis scored the fifth- best SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness) rating out of 968 prospects in attendance with a score of 108.99. A score achieved by recording a 4.67-second 40-yard dash, 4.44-second shuttle, 38.8-inch vertical jump and 40-foot powerball toss.
To put that in perspective, Landisch posted the second-highest rating at the camp.
"He's real good on kick returns," Lutz said. "He's very good as far as an H-back. He can run, catch passes out of the backfield and make plays. He played middle linebacker for us last year, as well, and we're going to move him back to free safety. He can do a little bit of everything."
Willis is the 11th verbal commit for the University of Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class.