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MADISON - Looking back, Monona Grove (Wis.) 2014 offensive lineman Jaden Gault has no regrets about how he handled and ended his once-in-a-lifetime recruiting process so early. Even through some uncertainty, Gault is committed to the place that feels right to him.
An early three-star recruit and ranked the 23rd-best offensive tackle in the class by Scout.com, Gault was on the verge of becoming a hot commodity on the recruiting trail. After Wisconsin offered him first, Gault received offers from Michigan State and Nebraska, interest from Michigan and visited Georgia Tech.
Even though there were plenty of opportunities on his horizon, Gault recognized last August that the university approximately 15 minutes from his home was tailored to his position.
"Knowing a lot of the coaching staff," Gault, sporting a red Wisconsin shirt, said on Inside Badger Nation. "I got along with (Bret) Bielema, (Mike) Markuson I knew pretty well, (Bart) Miller I knew really well from camp, I knew (Josh) Oglesby, the new GA (graduate assistant). The program itself speaks for itself. It produces o-linemen. A lot of them have moved on to the (NFL). It's a great education, as well, so that solidified it for me."
After Bielema left, the solidity started to soften. Like most recruits, Gault found out about Bielema's decision to leave for Arkansas on Twitter. Gault had experienced a coaching change before when offensive line coach, and his recruiting contact, Bob Bostad left following the 2011 season, but was unsure of the direction of the program without a head coach.
One of Gault's first priorities was to reach out to the three other verbal commits in the 2014 class – offensive lineman George Panos, quarterback Chance Stewart and defensive lineman Conor Sheehy – to gauge their reactions.
"I talked with George and his dad a lot," said Gault. "Me and my dad went to a couple practices before the Rose Bowl and we were able to talk with him a little bit. We were hearing coaches out, like most of us were … We were all anxious to see who's the new head coach. We were all pretty much solid with it at the time. We weren't wavering with de-commitments."
Gault was open to what other schools had to say when they came into Monona Grove High School. There were a lot of them, namely Michigan State, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The Spartans even visited Gault last week.
But Gault is still committed to Wisconsin, something he affirmed after taking an unofficial visit to the campus January 18 to meet with new offensive line coach T.J. Woods.
"(Woods) was really stressing on how I am committed to the University of Wisconsin, but he wants me to be committed to the coaches," Gault said. "They are about family, which is really positive I thought. That's kind of how Coach Bielema's staff was, as well. I think T.J. Woods and Coach Andersen are going to be really great coaches."
To hear more from Gault on his initial impressions on Gary Andersen, the goals he has entering his senior season, how he is handling a leadership role and what his message is to players considering Wisconsin, tune in to ‘Inside Badger Nation' at 9:30 p.m. tonight on Madison's CW.
For those outside the viewing area, look for the full interview to posted on YouTube this weekend. Simply search ‘Inside Badger Nation' for this show and other shows.
In Madison, channel 2 for Charter Basic, channel 57-1 off air, channel 616 on the Charter digital tier, DishNet channel 7284 and DirecTV channel 913.