The Freshman Fifteen - Garret Dooley

The Freshman Fifteen - Garret Dooley

The first commitment to Wisconsin's 2013 recruiting class, linebacker Garret Dooley is spending his redshirt season building his game to compete for an inside linebacker position next season. Badger Nation gets to know the freshman linebacker a little better in the return of our popular feature.

MADISON - Linebacker Garret Dooley has two unique distinctions among this year's true freshmen. For starters, he was the first kid committed to the Badgers in the Class of 2013 when he decided in February, and stuck with his commitment throughout the coaching upheaval.

Secondly, he was the first player to be removed from the field via ambulance in fall camp; not the greatest achievement in the world for the 6-2 linebacker. Going in a one-on-one blocking drill, Dooley's knee gave out after he planted and resulted in a dislocated knee cap, a ride to the hospital and a delayed start to his college career.

"It was just one of those weird things," said Dooley. "I returned three weeks ago and it was weird getting into it at first. Everything is going good. The knee has felt fine since then and everything is going smooth right now."

Redshirting this season, Dooley projects to be a solid inside linebacker in the Badgers defensive scheme. Having a knack for tackling (132 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks as a middle linebacker last season), Dooley bring some speed to table, as well, seeing as he totaled 1,930 offensive yards and 37 touchdowns in Rochester's state championship 2012 season.

Returning for a fourth season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.

Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Dooley: Probably having to juggle not having anybody to look after you. You are an adult now. You have to take responsibility for everything. In high school, your mom wakes you up if your alarm doesn't go off. That doesn't work that way here. Whether it be meetings, lifts or school, it's always your responsibility. If you mess up, it's your fault.

What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?

Dooley: Definitely being the young guy again. Coming in as a freshman, you feel so small. You aren't really used to it. That would be the biggest change.

Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?

Dooley: I know after summer before the injury, that was the best shape I had been in in my life. I could easily tell that. I feel like I am a lot bigger and a lot stronger now. Just getting the feel of things, I feel like I am reacting to stuff a lot better. It's help me out in a whole lot of ways.

What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?

Dooley: On scout team, I know I am going to work hard. That's always number one for me. I am not going to slack off. If you are slacking off, it's not good for you and it's not good for the offense. With weaknesses, you just have to keep your head. Whether it's with school or with football, you always have to stay positive.

How is Madison different than your home town of Rochester, IL? What's the biggest difference?

Dooley: It's a lot bigger. Rochester is about 3,500 people. Madison has a heck of a lot more than that. I am not used to living in a big city, so adjusting to that is a lot different. It's also a little colder up here.

Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?

Dooley: I have tried thinking about it. I am undecided right now. There's been some things that have gone through my mind, but I am not sure as of right now.

What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?

Dooley: Probably the Terrace. The view of the lakes is really awesome. If you just want to go there and hang out with your friends, bring your girlfriend or something, it's really nice.

What's your least favorite place on campus?

Dooley: Honestly I don't know. I haven't run into any parts that are bad in Madison. I don't know if I'll ever encounter that. So far it's really nice up here.

What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?

Dooley: Just relax. Just chill with my friends in the dorm or something, maybe play some video games. We don't get a lot of free time so when you do, you just want to relax.

Who did you live with this summer and who are you living with this fall? How are those relationships?

Dooley: This summer I lived with Troy Fumagalli, Jack Keeler and Matt Johnson. Now in the dorm I am living with Troy Fumagalli. Since I lived with Troy over the summer, we know each other really well. We're like brothers now. Everyone on this football team is like my brother, but I've gotten to know him more since we lived together.

What's the most interesting thing you've learn about Troy?

Dooley: He likes to talk a lot of smack when you are playing video games. Everything else he's really humble, but when it comes to video games, it's really competitive.

Who was your big brother and what was the biggest thing you learned from him?

Dooley: My big brother was Ethan Armstrong. He always told me to stay positive in everything you do. It's really easy to lose your head or have a mental breakdown. I've been told this many times before. It doesn't matter if it's school and you think you're struggling or with football and you think you can't make it, you always have to stay positive.

Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?

Dooley: Definitely my family, my dad and my mom for sure. My mom is always pushing me with school and my dad is always pushing me with football. It's like an equal balance with those two. I stay in touch with them and they always check up on me. They're always making sure I am moving forward.

What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?

Dooley: They definitely like that it's really not that far away. It's always been my dad's dream for me to play college football. I know that as soon as he found out that I had the opportunity, he was extremely blessed. The fact that I am able to come home and see them more often than some people have the opportunities to, they're really happy about that. They enjoy all the games up here.

What's the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey, especially when you ran out on the field for the first time against Purdue?

Dooley: It was unbelievable. Even not being dressed with something unreal, but as soon as I threw that uniform on for the first time was amazing. You are fulfilling your dream finally. It was something that you will never experience in your whole life.

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