MADISON, Wis. - True freshman center Michael Deiter has a lot on his shoulders for someone who by all rights could still be in high school. But instead of staying in Genoa, Ohio, for another few months Deiter enrolled early with the Wisconsin Badgers, and has stepped in as their No. 1 center from their first day of spring camp.
The Badgers probably didn't plan on handing the reigns over to Deiter so early in his career, but they didn't have much of a choice- Dallas Lewallen and Dan Voltz both had to miss all of spring practice to rehab from offseason procedures. Both players are expected to be fully healthy for fall camp, but the Badgers needed to play someone at center.
That someone ended up being Deiter, and his coaches are more than pleased with what he has shown them so far.
"I'm impressed. I'm very impressed with how he has handled his day-to-day life, and I'm impressed with how he has handled his football life," offensive line coach T.J. Woods said. "I think he has done a tremendous job absorbing the scheme and executing the scheme, which for most kids coming from high school is a hard step to make."
Deiter said he realizes the opportunity he has been given in his first semester with the team. He's the only one of Wisconsin's seven early enrollees that is getting significant time with the first team, and Deiter said he thinks this early experience will help him down the road.
"This is probably the best thing [for me], because I'm getting so many great reps with the ones," Deiter said. "I obviously need to keep learning it and keep learning everything that can go wrong, but I feel pretty comfortable with where I'm at right now."
And even though Deiter wasn't ready to set anything in stone, his solid play through spring camp has made it likely that he will avoid a redshirt and contribute to the team as a freshman.
"I've done ok- I don't really know about [cracking the two-deep]," Deiter said. "I've just got to keep practicing and see what happens."
Woods wasn't quite as coy when asked about Deiter's role on the team.
"Oh yeah," Woods said when asked if Deiter is in a good position to crack the two-deep this fall. "Where it sits right now, Michael Deiter is a guy where- if he continues to improve and does the right things- he's a guy we'll be able to count on."
Not bad for a player who's less than two months in to their college career.
John Veldhuis covers Wisconsin football, basketball and recruiting for BadgerBlitz.com on the Rivals.com network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnVeldhuis.