Better Know A Badger: Three-Star Tight End JT Seagreaves
MADISON, Wis. – After six members of the University of Wisconsin’s 2022 class joined the program this past January to participate in offseason conditioning and spring practices, the Badgers have welcomed the other nine members this month.
BadgerBlitz.com continues its annual "Better Know a Badger" series, where we check in with the incoming freshmen as they begin the transition from being prep standouts to college athletes. Today we check in with Monroe (Wis.) High tight end JT Seagreaves.
Seagreaves committed last June over an offer from Illinois State. He was a first-team all-state selection as a defensive end his senior season but will play tight end. In high school, he posted career totals of 42 catches for 967 yards and six touchdowns.
You qualified for the state track and field meet in the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400, winning in the 4x200. What kind of emotions did you have winning a state championship on your final weekend competing as a high school athlete?
JT Seagreaves: It felt amazing, especially in the moment. A lot of excitement and getting to do it with a lot of my teammates and friends I have been with for so long felt amazing. It felt great to close that chapter of my life.
Not only did you excel in track, but you were also an honorable mention all-state in basketball. Being a three-sport athlete, how did that help develop you as an overall athlete and you as a person
JS: I think it’s made me more versatile. I’ve got to be able to do a lot of different things, different running and jumping and the focus on what to do in different situations, and the competitiveness. I think all those things have helped me grow and become the best player I could be.
When did you know that football was going to be the sport you were going to play moving forward and that it would have you land a free education?
JS: Not long before I committed. Some schools reached out and invited me to their camps and were talking with me, but I was really focused on AAU basketball and talking to schools about that. Once I started to go to some of the football camps, more and more people were telling me that this was a big opportunity to do something great. It became real when I went to some of the Badgers camps, and they offered me.
You were unable to go to any camps the year before because they were canceled due to COVID-19. How thrilling or shocking was it, in what was your first major college football camp, to get an offer from the Badgers?
JS: it was definitely thrilling, and I was a little surprised. I really didn’t know what to expect. I figured, whatever happens, will be good, it’s a good experience even if I don’t get anything out of it and just getting to meet all the coaches, play up there and see the program. It was just amazing and something I would be lucky to be a part of.
Even though you grew up a Wisconsin fan, and getting an opportunity to play that close to home is a likely no-brainer, what else attracted you to the Badgers program that made it the right fit for you?
JS: Getting the chance to meet the coaches and some of my future teammates and the culture they have there is really cool. Obviously, it’s Wisconsin. I knew all the stuff they were doing but when you get to meet all those people, it becomes real and more personable.
How have you tried to prepare yourself to make the jump from high school athletics to college football?
JS: On the football side of things, obviously a lot of training and getting ready. In addition to track, I’ve been doing speed work. I’m still lifting, eating, and trying to put on muscle. Playing tight end, I’m going to have to get bigger in order to block some big guys. Coach Haering sent over the playbook, so I’ve been looking over that.
When you look at the Wisconsin tight end position, is it a position that suits your skill set or do you feel you are bringing something different to that position? What kind of tight end do you foresee yourself being?
JS: If you look at what a good tight end has, I feel I have a lot of potential in that aspect, but I feel like I can do even more. I have the length, I have been putting on size, and I’ve been working on the speed. I ran an 11.05 100 meter this year, so I have the tools. It’s going to be a lot of learning and adjusting, but I feel I can take that next step as a great tight end.
Did the coaching staff highlight the speed aspect when they were recruiting you for the tight end position, considering top-end speed hasn’t been associated with Wisconsin’s more recent tight ends?
JS: When I first started talking to them, Coach (Mickey) Turner was the tight ends coach. He broke down all the testing results and said I was good enough in all these aspects and that could make me a great tight end. I also knew that with some of the 40 (yard dash) times I put up, I could run faster than that. I feel like that’s adding more to the tight end position.
Were you surprised that Coach Turner was moved to a different position within the program and replaced by Coach Haering? I know you have a relationship with both, so what do you think Coach Haering is going to bring to your position group?
JS: It’s not as big of an adjustment as it could have been because I talked to both coaches during the recruiting process, but it was definitely a little surprising that Coach Turner moved into recruiting and a little sad that I wasn’t going to be able to work with him. I am excited to start working with Coach Haering. I think he’s a good coach and he knows his stuff. He’s good at communicating with the players. Every time I talk to him, it’s been good to just get to learn what it’s going to be like working for him.
You were also first-team all-state as a defensive end this past season. How do you think playing that position is going to help you play tight end? Does it change how you analyze opposing defenders and how they guard?
JS: A lot of times for me at defensive end, I was using my speed to try to get off fast. I think could help at the tight end position to get off on my routes. I was also going against some big guys, and that’s what tight ends are going to be asked to do.
What are some areas that you have highlighted that you need to work on between now and fall to potentially put yourself in a position to contribute in some area this upcoming season?
JS: Even though I have been putting on weight and looking at the playbook, I still feel those are some of the biggest things. I need to make sure all my numbers, lifting-wise, are good enough to compete. I’ve already put on 20-plus pounds since basketball season, so I’m 240 now. That’s pretty solid but there’s obviously more work to be done. The big thing is the playbook because there is a lot to know there. You can always get better at the plays.
When you read the playbook and start studying the playbook, without giving away any secrets, what are some things that strike you about how Wisconsin is going to use the tight end and some of the challenges you are going to face coming from a high school offense?
JS: For me, it’s a little bit of an adjustment because I haven’t played a lot of tight end. I’ve played wide receiver, running back, all around, but I like how Wisconsin uses the tight end in blocking, play-action passes, and overall in the passing game. I think that versatility is really big.
How big of a thrill has this process been for your family – going to a college camp with no scholarship offers to a committed prospect that is going to play college football less than an hour away from home?
JS: They’ve been with me throughout the process wanting to hear everything. They’ve been excited, but more so excited for me and everything that I’m going to be able to experience.
What has you the most excited for this college journey and what has you the most anxious?
JS: I think I am most nervous about not knowing what to expect. I kind of know a little bit, but you don’t really know until you get up there and are going through it. That’s also pretty exciting, all the new experiences and getting to be a part of something so big.
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