MADISON - Expected to be a big recruiting weekend for the University of Wisconsin, the Badgers are already off to a solid start.
Working out with the Wisconsin coaching staff on Sunday, Barnegat (NJ) offensive lineman Sam Madden felt more than comfortable on his first visit to the campus to get the Badgers coaching staff his verbal commitment.
He's the 11th commitment in the 2015 recruiting class, the fifth for UW in June and the first from the state of New Jersey since Corey Clement in 2012.
Madden is ranked as the No. 63 offensive tackle in the Class of 2015, according to Scout.com, and is a three-star prospect. He is the third offensive lineman in the 2015 class, joining four-star prospects Jon Dietzen (Seymour, WI) and David Moorman (Northville, MI).
The trip to Wisconsin was the first one for Madden, who was anxious to get to camp and get some of his first real work in some trimming up his frame in the offseason.
"I've slimmed down a lot since last season, and I'm in good shape," said Madden, previously. "I'm working my butt off every day and I'm doing pretty good. It's going to be pretty good to show [colleges] how I've gotten better."
The whole recruiting process has been a bright moment for Madden and his family the last few years, especially after he was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder as a high school freshman.
"It's funny. You can look at an athlete and say, ‘Oh, this guy is obsessed,'" Dave Madden, Sam's father, said previously. "We've really learned what that means. That's been a journey unto itself. His freshman year of high school, before he was getting therapy and help, it was a bad year. It was a rough time. Now, he has a solid B average. He's doing well. He's really come a long way."
It's one of the main reasons that comfort was one of the main criteria the Madden family looked at during the recruiting process, dealing with a coaching staff and a program that understood the illness and could become comfortable with it.
That became evident at Wisconsin, a program the family knew well with Dave's nephew being former offensive guard John Moffitt, an All-American at Wisconsin in 2010-11.
"Sam is really different from other kids," Dave said. "He doesn't go to parties. He doesn't go hang out with all of the other guys and fool around. He's built his focus on his plan for the future, which is football.
"Coaches love him because his work ethic is second to none. He just needs to realize that not everyone is as intense as him and he has to take a rest sometimes; come up for air."
Dave Madden said that he and his son compiled a spread sheet from the NFL Draft, plotting each school's draft picks along the offensive line and who coached the position at their college. It's why Wisconsin became such an intriguing option.
"I told (Sam) that there might be a school that's not as big a name as an Alabama but specializes in the offensive line," Dave said. "Wisconsin is an O-Line factory."
BadgerNation will have more from Madden shortly