Outside linebacker Austin Harnetiaux signed with the Badgers on Wednesday as a preferred walk-on.
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A 'real privilege' for OLB Austin Harnetiaux to be part of UW's 2022 class

How did Austin Harnetiaux, a senior from Seattle Prep in Washington, end up on Wisconsin's 2022 preferred walk-on list?

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound projected outside linebacker loaded up Bobby April's inbox early in the recruiting process.

"Well, I just sent Coach April a ton of emails," Harnetiaux told BadgerBlitz.com last Wednesday. "I was just pestering his inbox and he happened to click on my junior season highlights. He liked my tape and hit me back, and that's how I camped there this past summer.

"I think he believed in me from the jump, and that's what I'm really excited about."

Outside linebacker Austin Harnetiaux signed with the Badgers on Wednesday as a preferred walk-on.
Outside linebacker Austin Harnetiaux signed with the Badgers on Wednesday as a preferred walk-on.

Harnetiaux, the Seattle Metro League Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, was one of seven preferred walk-ons the Badgers announced as part of their 2022 recruiting class last Wednesday.

"Signing Day was a pretty big event for myself and my family, and in a lot of ways it was a dream come true," Harnetiaux said. "It's just awesome to know where I'm going, and while I'm Seattle I can work towards the goal of putting on a Wisconsin uniform. I get to start this whole process, which is really exciting.

"The coaching staff is amazing and I'll get a chance to play Big Ten football. The academics are amazing and, again, Coach April has me fired up to be a dog in his unit. It's a real privilege to be part of that."

As a senior, Harnetiaux, who chose UW over opportunities from Washington State, Army, Georgetown, Dartmouth, Harvard and Air Force, among others, racked up over 150 tackles in 11 games. Academics played a large role in his decision.

"A Wisconsin degree is pretty great these days and I really like their business program," Harnetiaux said. "They also have an excellent entrepreneurship program, which I'm excited about as someone who wants to run my own business. Wisconsin has a network to allow me to do that.

"Their walk-on program is phenomenal and they do a great job of converting those guys into contributors. I think I can go there and earn my money in the weight room, and I want to be a leader and someone who makes plays on Saturdays."

Harnetiaux is set to join a talented outside linebacker room and one of Wisconsin's premier positions over the last handful of years.

"It's all going to be about getting strong, getting better and learning from the guys ahead of me," he said. "In practice, there's no better offense to go against than the Big Ten linemen at Wisconsin. I want to find a role at Wisconsin and show people that I can do this."

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