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MADISON - With his flight delayed more than four hours, Chattanooga (TN) Baylor kicker Rafael Gaglianone didn’t arrive for his first visit at the University of Wisconsin until well after the Badgers throttled Indiana.
He’ll be seeing plenty of the school over the next four or five years.
Getting a chance to see the facilities and meet the coaches, Gaglianone was so impressed with the program that he didn’t wait long to commit after the coaching staff extended him a scholarship.
“It’s definitely a big time opportunity and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” Gaglianone said. “It’s a big time program with top notch facilities. I am really glad they gave me a chance.”
Gaglianone is the 20th verbal commitment in Wisconsin’s 2014 recruiting class. He held a scholarship offer from North Carolina State, but said he was receiving interest from a number of BCS schools, including Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
“I was just coming to check out the place, but I was really hoping for an official (from Wisconsin),” said Gaglianone. “It’s one of those things you always hope for, but you never know if it’s going to be there. I am really glad it was out there waiting for me.”
Gaglianone said Wisconsin tight end coach Jeff Genyk has been recruiting him for roughly two months. It was announced a month ago that junior kicker Kyle French wouldn’t be returning for his senior season.
“He’s a really nice guy,” Gaglianone said of Genyk. “He understands a lot about kicking and whenever a kicker misses, he tries to work with the kicker on fixing the problem instead of just brushing it off. He understands every part of the game. We definitely have a great relationship, and I am exciting to get to work with him the next couple years.”
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaglianone moved to the United States three years ago to play soccer and try and get an opportunity to go to college. That changed during the middle of his sophomore year when he decided to try his hand at kicking for the school’s football team.
“I just went with it,” said Gaglianone. “My first day I made a 50-yarder. It was just one of those things went all went well. Over the last two years I had to change completely my technique and adjust to kicking with and without a tee to get to the point where I could be good.”
Having spent time working with kicking guru Chris Sailer, Gaglianone said he went 10-for-14 his senior season, kicking a 57-yard field, making multiple field goals over 40 yards and narrowly missed a 60-yard attempt.
“Since I was born I’ve been kicking a soccer ball, especially being born and raised in Brazil. Having that background has definitely helped me with my swing, but I had to work a lot on my technique change, which gave me the opportunity to come to Wisconsin.”
Gaglianone is hoping to come in next season to compete for kick offs and field goals with sophomore kicker Jack Russell, who has made his last five attempts after going a season-and-a-half without a make.
“I don’t take any position for granted, but they want me to come in and compete for kickoffs, field goals and just see how it works out,” said Gaglianone. “I am really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great competition. We have some great field goal kickers there now. Hopefully it will be a good competition.”