In his first two weeks on campus, Plantation (Fla.) cornerback Sojourn Shelton
has experienced a lot of firsts. If he had to rank them, going to classes and starting his college football career would far outweigh sub-zero temperatures and snow.
"It's kind of weird, but it's a good thing," Shelton told Badger Nation. "I am just trying to get acclimated and situated. Looking at the schedule and all my stuff, it's kind of crazy. It's going to be hard, but that's why I came in January to get adjusted early so timing wouldn't be a problem. I'm officially a college student, so that's a dream come true."
Ranked the No.76 cornerback in the country by Scout.com, Shelton returned three punts for touchdowns and recorded an interception, 16 pass breakups and 22 tackles as a senior.
Shelton says his first semester classes are manageable, taking classes in music, acting, nutrition and science writing. He's doing that by design in order to be able to focus on spring practices and the goals he has for the team's winter conditioning program.
"I want to gain weight," said Shelton, who has weighed in at 155 and has a goal of gaining a pound every week. "That's really it to be honest with you. I know the type of person that I am. Coming from down south, we grew up with that confidence. I already know that I can play college ball and I can cover receivers. That's not anything. Of course I want to polish those skills and maintain the skills that I have. I have to gain the weight."
"Everyone has high expectations for me. As much as I don't want to let them down, I don't want to let myself down, which is why I came up here early."
Shelton was officially announced as part of Wisconsin's 2013 signing class Wednesday, along with Minneapolis cornerback Keelon Brookins. Despite playing in only 12 games due to injury, finished career with nine interceptions as a defensive back and scored seven touchdowns as a wide receiver. Brookins will spend the spring finishing his rehabilitation on a right ACL and meniscus tear suffered last season.
"We're very cool and we definitely have a good relationship," said Shelton, who is living with Brookins. "We laugh a lot and enjoy ourselves. We are alike in many ways. He's going to push me and I'm going to push him. One thing about me is that I am a competitor. I don't like to come in second at anything, so I think with the level of intensity I'm going to bring in spring ball and in the weight room that he is going to feed off of it. He wants to play as much as I do."
Enrolling early ended a hectic recruiting process for Shelton, who was a long time verbal commit to Florida State before switching to Wisconsin in October. Shelton took his official visit to Wisconsin for the 2012 season opener, becoming enthralled with what the program and the city had to offer. Although he was recruited by now Arkansas assistant coach Charlie Partridge, Shelton maintained his commitment to Wisconsin after meeting with UW coach Gary Andersen and safeties coach Bill Busch.
"I am excited for Coach Andersen to be my head coach," Shelton said. "I can tell that he knows what he's talking about and I am excited to play football for him.
"With spring coming, I do have high expectations for myself and for the Badgers. To be going in with two corners leaving, my plan is to fit myself somewhere into the lineup. I'll do whatever it takes."
Note: The interview for this story took place before Shelton enrolled in classes
One of two freshmen to enroll for spring practices, Wisconsin freshman cornerback Sojourn Shelton is ready to build his frame in order to be an impact player in the Badgers' secondary.