With Warren Herring set to graduate at the end of the year, the defensive tackle position is so thin that it’s critical for Wisconsin to land one. possibly two, defensive tackles in the 2015 recruiting class to rebuild the depth.
Although Wisconsin hasn’t received a commitment yet in this cycle, the Badgers currently sit well with Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei senior Olive Sagapolu.
“My recruitment is going well,” Sagapolu told BadgerNation. “I have offers from Wisconsin, Washington State and Sacramento State, and I’ve been hearing from all three of those schools.”
In addition to his scholarships, the 6-2, 290-pound Sagapolu says he’s also receiving interest from Idaho State, Oregon, Oregon State, UNLV and Vanderbilt. Sagapolu said that those five schools are still evaluating him.
Since being offered by Wisconsin in June during the All-Poly Camp, Sagapolu has been able to build a solid relationship with defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a.
“We talk when we can,” Sagapolu said. “We haven’t talked in a while but I intend on calling him soon. But when we talk, we talk about how we are doing and we talk about my academics.”
Like Wisconsin, Sagapolu talks on and off with Washington State’s defensive line coach Joe Salave’a. Sagapolu’s mom has been able to speak with Salave’a and what loyalty means to the family.
“She pretty much told him that are family is about loyalty,” Sagapolu said. “When I make my commitment, I’m going to stick with my decision and that I’m not going to de-commit.”
Like all high school football players, Sagapolu has been working hard to improve his game. Having a goal to average two sacks a game, Sagapolu has specifically been working on improving his quickness, building muscle and just trying to become a better defensive lineman. When Sagapolu isn’t on the football field, he has been trying to improve inside the classroom and his ACT score.
“I believe in order for me to commit to Wisconsin I’m going to have to work a lot harder on my school work,” Sagapolu said. “I’m going to have to get my score up in the ACT and improve my GPA. I’ve been getting tutoring so it can help boost my ACT and I’ve been taking a lot of practice tests.”
Not only is Sagapolu getting pushed and recruited by the Wisconsin coaching staff, he’s hearing plenty about the Badgers from from current teammate and Wisconsin commit Kyle Penniston.
“Our relationship is pretty cool,” Sagapolu said of him and Penniston. “He’ll talk to me about Wisconsin or I’ll approach him if I have a question. I usually ask him about Wisconsin academics and what classes I need to get into Wisconsin. He gives me my space when it comes to my recruitment and he knows I’ll do what is best for me.
“We don’t always talk about academics when it comes to Wisconsin. He’ll tell me more about the Badgers and what he’s trying to work on with his game so he can be ready when he arrives in Madison.”
Although Sagapolu is not close to making a final decision, he is looking for a school that provides a family feel.
“I just want to find somewhere that I’m comfortable ,where I can talk with the coaches about anything and that the coaches can help me with my technique,” Sagapolu said. “I also want to find a college town that I’m comfortable in and I want to find a school that fits me well academically.”
Before Sagapolu can find the right college fit, he’ll have to figure out when he can take his official visits.
“I would like to take official visits to Wisconsin and Washington State,” Sagapolu said. “We’ve looked at my football schedule, my mom has looked over her schedule and we’re trying to find the best time to do it. I’m just looking forward to seeing the experience of a college football Saturday.”