While the Badgers have seemingly wrapped up their recruiting class for 2002, there is an asterisk next to that statement, in the form of one of the top running backs in the nation.
Wisconsin has kept one scholarship open for Justin Vincent, the 6-foot, 205-pound running back from Lake Charles (LA), and he is still mulling over his decision. While his mother told IW Monday afternoon that she felt Vincent was leaning a little bit towards LSU, Vincent clarified that statement Monday night.
“As of right now, I am completely neutral. I’m still putting some hard thinking into it,” Vincent said.
Vincent is a soft verbal for LSU, but after making an official visit to Madison in late December, he has been rethinking his decision for quite some time.
“I’ve really been taking it slow. I’m not looking at anything specifically,” Vincent said. “I’m just getting in the mindset that wherever I choose, I’m going to spend four years there and I’m going to have to build on that. I really haven’t thought about anything else but that.”
Vincent said he might make his decision on Wednesday, National Signing Day, but the possibility is there that he could prolong his decision beyond that date.
“As of right now, I probably will do it on Wednesday, but I’m still kind of waiting so I can make the right decision,” Vincent said. “I’ve been real about it. I’m taking my time. I’m not really worried about what anybody else thinks. It’s all about me. I’m the one that has to play ball, so I’m just kind of riding it out. If it comes to that (Wednesday), I’ll do that. If not, I’ll wait.”
Vincent said he’s been impressed by the recruiting job Offensive Coordinator Brian White has done, and he was particularly taken back by a piece of mail he received via Fed Ex last Friday.
It was a handwritten note from every single member of the UW coaching staff, expressing how much they wanted Vincent to commit to Wisconsin.
“They sent me a scholarship and that letter,” Vincent said. “It’s basically as far as I’ve seen any (program go). Every single coach hand wrote a letter, including Coach Alvarez. They basically said, come be a star…that I can blossom in their program. Great running backs have come through there, and they said they have the tools to mold me into a great running back.”
Vincent said the letter echoed the sentiments of White, who has been telling him for months that if he commits to Wisconsin, the sky is the limit for his future.
“He told me I can be an impact player, a star in their recruiting class,” Vincent said. “Since I made the All-American team, he tells me that quite a bit. He tells me that I can come in there, play early and be a star. He sees on film that I have the potential and he said I have great character, so I guess that goes a long way.”
Meanwhile, the LSU coaching staff isn’t sitting back on its heels, as the Badgers try to lure away one of its prize recruits. Vincent said the LSU staff has made frequent in-home visits and phone calls, just like Wisconsin.
“They found out about Wisconsin and they’ve been doing a little bit more, a little extra, making that phone call,” Vincent said. “They are doing just as much as (Wisconsin) is doing.”
Vincent said he honestly has not made up his mind yet, and he will not be pressured into making a decision because of Signing Day or anything else.
“My parents and coaches have said whatever you do, we’ll support you 100 percent,” Vincent said. “Nobody is putting pressure on me, telling me I have to do this or that. It’s completely up to me.”