Clay Gosse Biding His Time

Defensive lineman has received plenty of attention from programs seeking his services in football and track.

Clay Gosse has received countless letters and calls from colleges seeking his services. And the Appleton North senior's mailbox and phone lines will only get busier in the coming weeks.

That's because he's shown more versatility on the gridiron this fall and is a two-sport standout who has schools trying to get his signature on a letter of intent for track as well.

Gosse, 17, hasn't decided what career path he'll take, so he's waiting to see what offers present themselves.

"I would like to commit and get the recruiting process over with, but I'm gonna wait and not close the door yet," said Gosse, who had an interception and fumble recovery as the Lightning started the season 2-2 behind the Fox Valley Association's second-ranked defense. "Northwestern has offered (scholarships) to three defensive linemen, but none of them has given verbal commitments, so if any of them back out, I'm next in line."

That doesn't mean Gosse will automatically become a Wildcat, but the opportunity sure would be appealing, athletically and academically.

However, he's also received attention from Western Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Georgetown and Harvard for football and Iowa State, Minnesota, South Alabama and UW-Milwaukee for track. And there's no doubt that Bret Bielema and the University of Wisconsin are keeping their eyes on Gosse's situation.

And with good reason. The 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pounder was a second-team choice as a sophomore and a first-teamer at defensive end a year ago, but he has moved inside to tackle and nose guard, and that versatility means more potential suitors. Gosse also sees spot duty at offensive tackle and tight end for veteran coach Paul Engen.

"He's the only kid that I remember starting as a freshman since I've been around," said Engen, who coached at rival Appleton West from 1969-95 before moving over to North. "Clay has good quickness and gets off the ball so well for somebody with his good size."

Gosse showed his athletic abilities by competing in the shot put and discus at the 2008 WIAA state track meet, where he finished third in the Division 1 shot put competitions with a heave of 57-6 in the finals. He has reached 59-2. And although he took 17th with a 141-2 effort, he has whipped the discus 167-0.

His only official visit so far was to Iowa State, and that was for track. Gosse has attended football camps at Northwestern, ISU, Iowa and Wisconsin.

His brother Beau and sister Danielle are students in Madison, but that doesn't necessarily prove he's leaning that way, too.

"They love it and the campus is great," Gosse said. "I would consider (walking on) there, but it all depends on what I decide is the best fit for me."

If Gosse continues to impress as North chases its fifth consecutive postseason berth, he'll certainly have plenty of options to choose from.

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