football Edit

Better Know A Badger: Three-Star OL Ben Barten

Wisconsin's 2020 signing class will be joining the team full-time in June, so will be checking in with the team's incoming freshmen as they make the jump from being high school prospects to a Wisconsin student-athlete.

Ben Barten, a three-star offensive lineman from Stratford High School in Stratford, Wis., was the fourth commit for the Badgers in the cycle, making his decision in October 2018. He spoke with about how he's feeling now that his career with the Badgers is right around the corner. Our questions and his answers are included below.

Miss an interview? Catch up here:

OL Trey Wedig

Three-star offensive lineman Ben Barten is headed to Wisconsin next month.
Three-star offensive lineman Ben Barten is headed to Wisconsin next month. (Jake Kocorowski)

What was it like for you to officially wrap up your recruitment and send in your letter of intent in December? Had a lot of schools been talking to you up until you signed?

Barten: I knew from the second I committed there was no other option. My parents told me that once you commit, you are for sure locking yourself in. I would never go back on any of my decisions, and I never wanted to.

Did you enjoy being recruited, or was it something you had to get used to before you could get comfortable with the process?

Barten: Being recruited for me was I went to a combine and then all of a sudden, I got an offer, and then a week later Iowa offered me. (Iowa) was obviously a great school but I’m a kid from Wisconsin. What else would I want than to go to Wisconsin? I got an offer from Wisconsin at their first home game last year, and I pretty much knew at that point. I had no other (FBS) schools at that point other than Iowa and Wisconsin and I knew for sure. After a week of really thinking about it, it’s home. It’s what I truly care about and it’s my decision. It was very exciting.

Besides them being the in-state school, what was it about Wisconsin that helped them stand out from Iowa? What was it that made you want to be a Badger?

Barten: I had been to roughly five Wisconsin games because they were the ones who I liked, so, yeah, I’m going to go to their games. My parents said we should try to make a game at Iowa, and I thought that would be a great idea since I’m still looking at them. I went to the Iowa game and they played Maryland. Every time Iowa did good, I was like, “um, ok, that’s all right.” When Wisconsin would do something, it would get your heart going. I knew at that point that my heart was at Wisconsin, no matter what.

Was there ever a worry that the Wisconsin offer wouldn’t come, or did you have a good feeling that if you continued to progress, maybe even do their camps, it would be there for you?

Barten: Iowa offered two months and were very frequent at my school. (Iowa offensive line coach) Tim Polasek did great. He was a really nice guy and did a really nice job recruiting, but I knew my heart was at Wisconsin. Coach Rudolph is an amazing coach and everything I needed in a coach. I think that was kind of a sealer.

I knew that I either wanted to go to Iowa or Wisconsin. It didn’t matter who else came because I wasn’t going to go there. I went to a Wisconsin camp and I was an offensive lineman the first time I went there. It went pretty well, and I thought I did a great job. (2019 commit) Keeanu Benton was there, and I felt I held my own against him. I went the next week as a d-lineman and really started talking with the coaches a ton, so I felt that went well.

They called me on the phone, and they kept on talking to me on the phone. I felt that was a lot of talking to someone who doesn’t have an offer yet. You know what, maybe it will happen and I could only hope from there that it would.

Have the Wisconsin coaches given you an indication of where they are going to start you at?

Barten: Honestly, I don’t know beyond playing offense. There was an initial question of defense or offense, but right now I’ll begin working on offense. They haven’t told me too much about position. Right now, it’s not a huge time for really talking, unless we are in person.

What are you trying to do to stay active during quarantine? What is your workout routine like?

Barten: I’m actively working out. We have a squat rack, a bench, a lot of options to use. I’m not held back from anything because our friend has the equipment and it’s going real well.

When things get back to normal, it sounds like you feel you won’t have to do a lot of catch up in the strength department?

Barten: I’m way stronger now than when I started this quarantine. I don’t go to school, so I don’t have something that’s going to make me tired. I work out anywhere from 5-6 days a week, four at minimum and five normally. I would say I’m much stronger.

What has the Wisconsin staff communicated to you over the last several weeks?

Barten: Their whole thing right now is to have us not forget about what we should be working for, working towards. They’ve kept in contact with all of us through all of this, just so we don’t forget about working out, staying in school and staying motivated through all of this.

What do you think you'll take away from playing high school football? Is there a game you'll remember or a lesson you learned that will stick with you?

Barten: We played two games in my high school career at Camp Randall. That might help me a little bit, but at the same time, it’s such a huge jump that you just hope you can ride with it. Some people can’t pick up with it because it’s such a huge jump from high school to college. I don’t know really what I would say I’m going to bring with. There’s stuff I’ve learned with technique and stuff, but they know so much more at Madison that it will be such a huge jump.

In a year from now, what would you like to look back on and say you accomplished during your first year with the team? Do you have any goals like that?

Barten: I probably will redshirt this year. That will be the normal thing of a true freshman, so that’s what they’ll probably have me do. First year, it’s your best bet is to work as hard as you can and learn as much as you can so hopefully you can start contributing to the starting lineup. I’d say that probably. I need to learn as much as I can this year and get as strong as I can.

The first four commits of this class were offensive linemen who picked Wisconsin very early in the recruiting cycle. How strong is your bond as a group of four because of that?

Barten: When I first started to get recruited, I felt like those were the kids that I need to someday show that I could outplay to possibly make the starting lineup. You see them as competitors, but now they are teammates and my friends. I’ve grown to become actual friends with them. You still have to outwork as many people as you can, but it would be great to someday play along with them at one time.

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