March 4, 2009

A numbers game for Hagerup

The Wisconsin coaching staff made it quite apparent Will Hagerup was the type of player they'd love to have join the program in 2010.

But with an estimated 15 scholarships available and youth at both the punter (freshman Brad Nortman) and kicker (redshirt freshman Philip Welch) position, timing is not working in favor of the 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect from Whitefish Bay, Wis., who recently attended UW's annual junior day this past Sunday in Madison.

"When we got back from the basketball game, all the other guys went to their individual position meetings and Kyle French and I had already done that, so we actually got to meet with Coach (Bret) Bielema separately," Hagerup told BadgerBlitz.com Tuesday night.

"I'm not sure what he (Bielema) said to Kyle, but we talked about my brother (Indiana punter Chris Hagerup) and how he just had surgery on his ACL. He then told me that he has 15 scholarships to give and he wants to keep evaluating me and see how things go. Coach Bielema said he wants me to be part of the program, but there are only a limited amount of spots, so he wants to get me into camp and then they'll make a decision. It was a really good conversation."

Hagerup, one of 32 in-state juniors in attendance, was able to see everything the university had to offer, both on and off the football field.

"My dad and I got there at around 9:30 a.m. or so, and we went up in the football offices where all the coaches were waiting there to greet us," said Hagerup, who currently has offers from Purdue and Iowa State. "They're all very charismatic and real nice, and it was great to be welcomed like that.

"We then had like a big introduction meeting where the academic advisor came and talked and said what to expect and gave us some stats about what type of student is generally admitted to the college, just what kind of students they are. Obviously Wisconsin is very strong in that department, so that was pretty impressive. We then got a tour of all the academic facilities and the weight room, stuff like that. Everything is relatively new, so it's all real impressive."

French and Hagerup, good friends and competitors off the field, were able to spend most of the day together being the lone specialists invited.

"Kyle and I, we were the only specialists there, so we met with Coach (Charlie) Partridge and he gave us the scoop on what a normal practice would be," Hagerup said. "He told us that we're not going to just be put aside because you're on special teams-he really likes to refine his players and work on their kicking motion and everything that's involved.

"We met with him for about a half an hour and he said he doesn't know what's going to happen with the scholarships, but he said if he had scholarships to give, Kyle and I would already have them. With the situation at punter and kicker right now at Wisconsin, the logistics don't necessarily work toward our advantage. He said he appreciates all the hard work we've put in and he wishes it was a better situation, but things could still work out with the scholarships depending how spring ball goes."

The visit also included a question and answer with current Badgers who played their high school ball in Wisconsin.

"Before lunch we had a question and answer session with the players that was pretty entertaining," he said. "It was Nick Toon, Josh Oglesby and a few other guys. They talked about the whole recruiting process and what to expect, so that was pretty cool."

Hagerup, who said he had been going to games in Madison since he was two or three years old, figures to have plenty of options if Wisconsin isn't able to offer this summer.

"Honestly, recruiting is going real well," he said. "Last year I felt like I was working to get better and better and now I'm at the point where I need to show them what I can do. It's all new to me but it's real, real exciting. It's real fun and I'm lucky to be able to do it.

"Right now I'm hearing from pretty much all the Big Ten schools with the exception of Minnesota because they already have a kid lined up from 2009. I'm also hearing from Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and LSU. They all requested film and they want me to come to see them in June. LSU actually said they would come up and visit me in the spring, along with Duke and Iowa."

With June figuring to be a hectic month for Hagerup, his recruitment could end soon after if the right offers pour in.

"I'm hoping to have a decision made before my senior year," he said. "I think that would be a real nice way to end my high school year with a laid-back but fun senior year. I'm going to try and make it to around five or 10 schools this June and hopefully have a concrete answer once that all wraps up."


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