MADISON - There’s a reason it’s called ‘junior day.’
An opportunity to bring in high school juniors from around the country on an unofficial visit, college coaches use the one-day event as an opportunity to show off their campus, facilities and academics to a group of athletes who will be making their college decision within the year.
This year, Wisconsin used it to also extend an olive branch to a couple highly-touted in-state sophomores, one of whom was Mequon Homestead defensive tackle Brandon Hines.
Making another trip to the UW campus, Hines called it ‘an honor’ that he was invited on a day with a lot of talented juniors and saw many new things that stood out in his mind.
“They talked a lot about the program and the strength stuff, which I really liked,” Hines told Badger Nation Saturday. “They showed the transformation that a lot of the players have gone through from the time they arrive to the time that they leave. I was impressed by the tremendous outcomes some of the players had.”
In addition to a facility tour, lunch, an academic presentation and conversations with defensive players, Hines got to meet with Ben Strickland, his new recruiting contact.
“I talked to him for about five, six minutes and he said he’s going to be recruiting me,” said Hines. “He basically went over there and I sent him my film. He’s from my area, so there’s a good connection there.”
Hines also was involved in a group presentation done by defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge that touched on what it takes to survive at Wisconsin.
“They really stress academics and really focus in on that a lot,” said Hines. “Talking with Coach Partridge and seeing how he teaches, it was actually nice because our coach (at Homestead) mimics a lot of the same things Coach Partridge does. I kind of new most of the stuff, so I think that helped me out.”
Although he was included in the festivities, Hines was not expecting his first scholarship offer nor was he disappointed when the topic never came up. In his eyes, he has plenty of time to impress a coaching staff that appears very interested in his development.
“Wisconsin rarely recruits my class and I think they really wanted to get to know some of the juniors that were there,” said Hines. “I could see myself maybe getting an offer after my junior season, but not before then. I know it doesn’t work like that.”
Next up for Hines are trips to Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi State and, possibly, Michigan State over the next several weeks.
“It’s going to be busy,” said Hines, “but I am ready for it.”
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