Dante Caputo joins Wisconsin's 2019 preferred walk-on class
Roughly eight years later, the 2019 safety from North Allegheny High School in Pennsylvania found himself signing with the Badgers as a preferred walk-on.
"I was aware of the great Wisconsin football tradition and excellence because of my cousin, Mike," Dante Caputo told BadgerBlitz.com. "I was able to meet the coaches and get on the campus and everything felt right. I wanted to play big-time football and Wisconsin is it.
"Wisconsin has that hard-nose, work-horse environment and that’s how I was brought up in football and family. With Wisconsin, it started all the way back when Mike was being recruited and I got to meet Coach Bielema. Mike was for sure someone I looked up to and still do."
Mike Caputo was recently hired as the safeties coach at Utah State, a school Dante Caputo considered during his recruitment. John Carroll and Pittsburgh were also options for the 5-foot-11, 185-pound projected safety.
"Mike isn’t the most talkative guy and was gone off recruiting and coaching a lot of the time," Dante Caputo said. "However, when we did get a chance to talk he had nothing but positive things to say about the Wisconsin program, coaches and Madison.
"In our last conversation he said that I would do well and love it there. I always had positive thoughts about the program and school while growing up and he did nothing but fortify those thoughts.
"I played outside my whole varsity career. But they project me as a strong safety-type. I’m not uncomfortable making a position change and I’ll do whatever the coaches need me to to get on the field."
Captuo, who visited Madison in January, is part of a preferred walk-on class that also includes Peter Bowden, Blake Wilcox, Jackson Kollath, Tatum Grass, Cameron Phillips, Logan O'Brien and Cooper Nelson.
"My visit went very well despite the negative temperatures," he said. "I was able to meet all the coaches, see a workout, tour all the facilities, tour the campus and visit the business school and saw a basketball game. I went up Friday, did all that by myself, and then decided to stay for the junior-day stuff and basketball game the next day. I really enjoyed it. I was really just waiting to visit the campus before committing.
"It is a big relief finally being able to make this decision. I am looking forward to the great things ahead. My parents are relieved, too."