MADISON - As expected, three members of Wisconsin's 2012 recruiting class have forgone their final months as a high school students with hopes of getting a head start on their collegiate football career.
Offensive line prospect Dan Voltz from Illinois, running back Vonte Jackson from Kenosha and cornerback Hugs Etienne from Florida, have all enrolled in classes at UW.
In doing so, they've begun their Badger football career by participating in winter conditioning. They'll also partake in spring camp when that begins in March.
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"We're happy to have Hugs, Vonte and Dan on campus," head coach Bret Bielema said via UW press release. "This allows them to spend 5 ½ years on campus, go through spring practice with us and probably most importantly, get acclimated academically without having the pressure and rigors of the football season weighing on them."
Jackson, a standout at Kenosha Bradford, which is also the same school UW freshman running back Melvin Gordon attended, will likely be limited during spring camp. Having suffered a torn ACL during early in his team's season opener, Jackson is still recovering and rehabbing.
ACL injuries typically take anywhere between nine and 12 months - - sometimes shorter and sometimes longer - - to fully heal. Considering spring camp, set to open in March, will start just seven months after his injury first happened, it's hard to believe he'll be at full strength.
Voltz and Etienne, however, should be ready to go.
"We've had a number of great examples of kids that have been able to take advantage of this," Bielema said. "Including guys like Travis Frederick, Andy Kemp, David Gilbert, Jordan Kohout and Jake Byrne.
"They have all been starters for us during their careers here and also very successful academically."
Etienne, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound prospect was rated the No. 31 cornerback in the 2012 class. He recorded 88 tackles, six interceptions and forced seven fumbles during his four-year career at South Plantation high school in Florida. He also lettered in track and field and was a member of the school's honor roll.
Voltz, rated a four-star prospect and one of the nations top guard prospects, recently played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7th. He finished his final year at Barrington high school as an all-state selection. He was also a member of the IHSA All-State Academic team while lettering in football, wrestling and track and field.
He's one of three current members of UW's 2012 offensive line recruiting class. Kyle Dodson, a four-star prospect from Ohio, and Walker Williams, a three-star prospect from Washington, are scheduled to join UW's staff.
Dodson, however, has been wavering in his decision to join the Badger program, especially once Ohio State hired Urban Meyer. Williams has stated recently he plans on staying committed to Wisconsin.
The Badgers had a verbal commitment from four-star offensive line prospect J.J. Denman, but the Pennsylvania native recently backed out of his commitment in favor of joining the Rutgers program.