football Edit

LB Zach Gloudeman turns down offers in order to walk on at Wisconsin

Zach Gloudeman knew Wisconsin would likely be his next home after he picked up a preferred walk-on offer from the Badgers this summer.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior from River Valley (WI) High School carried that feeling with him all fall until he announced a commitment to UW on Thursday evening.

"I've known for a while that Wisconsin was going to be it for me," Gloudeman told BadgerBlitz.com. "I've been dragging my feet a little with finding the best time to make it official. But Coach (Chris) Haering was at my school this week and I told him that's what I wanted to do and that's when I committed.

In-state linebacker Zach Gloudeman accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Wisconsin on Thursday.
In-state linebacker Zach Gloudeman accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Wisconsin on Thursday.

"I would say it was Wisconsin from the get-go. When they offered me I had it in the back of my mind that Wisconsin would be the place for me. I hung back on committing and there was no harm in playing out the options that I had. But I knew that's where I was going to commit."

The opportunity to play for Wisconsin started this summer when Gloudeman attended camp in Madison. While on campus, he caught the attention of Haering and inside linebackers coach Bob Bostad.

"I went to their camp in early June and I went in as a nobody there," Gloudeman said. "Most of the other camps I went to had been places where I had good communication with those coaching staffs. But with Wisconsin, I just went in there to compete.

"I caught Coach Bostad and Coach Haering's attention and they invited me after for a workout where I did a few other drills. After that, Coach (Eric) Johnson and Coach Haering reached out and invited me to a walk-on junior day thing. I met again with Coach Bostad and that's where he laid out what things would look like as a preferred walk-on at Wisconsin."

Gloudeman, an AP All-State honorable mention pick as a senior, turned down scholarships from Illinois State, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Dakota State, St. Thomas and Yale in order to walk on at Wisconsin.

"It wasn't as tough of a decision as I thought it would be," Gloudeman said. "My parents have been super great with the whole process and money wasn't an issue. I committed where I felt I fit and where I wanted to go. Having that support has been great. Turning down scholarships and free money is never easy to do, but going to Wisconsin and seeing the environment there, it's unlike any other place I visited. That's what sold it for me."

Inside linebacker and fullback, according to Gloudeman, are both on the table when he arrives in Madison this summer. This fall, he racked up 63 tackles on defense to go along with 275 rushing yards and five touchdowns on offense.

"When I camped in June, I jumped back and forth between Coach Bostad and Coach (Gary) Brown," Gloudeman said. "Talking to Coach Haering and Coach Johnson, fullback is on the table and it will depend on how I develop and where they need me. I was pretty sure it was linebacker this summer, but it could be either one. I don't mind either one."

Gloudeman joined a preferred walk-on class for the Badgers that previously included offensive linemen Drew Evans and John Clifford, linebacker Luna Larson, kicker Gavin Lahm and safety Jackson Trudgeon.

"It's a relief to have the closure of knowing what I'm doing next year," Gloudeman said. "It's also really exciting to be starting the process of transiting into being a player at Wisconsin. It's something that I'm really looking forward to."

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