Madison East’s receiver Mason is happy to stay at home
When he signed his national letter of intent to play for the Badgers, starting next season, the standout wide receiver still couldn’t believe it.
“I finally relaxed about 10 minutes before everything started,” Mason said. “It’s a great feeling knowing I’m a Badger and that I can focus on finishing my senior year strong.”
Mason was smiling from ear to ear when he inked his name on the paperwork during a press conference at Madison East High School, officially making him a member of Wisconsin’s 2010 signing class Wednesday, the first day of the signing period for high school seniors.
Mason was one of 24 players who signed national letters of intent to play with Wisconsin, a class that is ranked 33rd in the country by Scout.com, and is the first Madison East scholarship player to join the Badgers since wide receiver Donald Hayes (1994-97).
“(Coach Bielema) said ‘congrats,’ and that they are very excited to have me there,” Mason said.
The standout player on a Purgolders team that went 2-7 last season, Mason grabbed 56 passes for 866 yards for 14 scores, often fighting off double teams by the opponents. Mason is used to the extra attention, as the senior is averaging double figures to lead his basketball team to a 14-1 record and the state’s No. 2 rating.
“It’s a great feeling to be on top, but it’s also a lot more pressure,” Mason said. “We are going to make it as far as possible.”
When Mason was offered the scholarship by Bielema, he was told that UW basketball coach Bo Ryan would allow him to walk with that team if he committed to play football. Although that was his original plan, Mason has decided to focus solely on football at Wisconsin, and he can’t wait for summer conditioning to start.
“I’m basically signing my life away,” Mason said with a laugh, “but I can’t wait to work out with them.”
Of the 24 scholarship players, the Badgers signed five defensive linemen, including three tackles, which is their biggest area of immediate need.
“We’ll see how mature those kids are emotionally when they come in,” UW defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said. “I think there will be a couple kids that I think physically will be able to get in the mix right away. Where we need the most help, it’s no secret, it is defensive tackle.”
One of those players Partridge will be counting on is defensive tackle Beau Allen, from Minnetonka, Minn., widely considered the highest-ranked recruit in the class. The 6-foot-3, 307-pound Allen is a four-star recruit by Scout.com and chose the Badgers over Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Stanford.
Fortunately for Wisconsin, his parents and relatives in Janesville were a big selling point. His grandfather, Fred Westphal, was an All-America swimmer at the UW, and his uncle, John Westphal, played football for UW and lettered as a linebacker and special-teams standout in 1980 and 1981. Both are members of the Janesville Hall of Fame.
“He’s a young man that fills a need, and whether he’s ready to play this year or not remains to be seen,” Partridge said of Allen. “We’ve known Beau so long, and the family so long that you grow an emotional attachment to these kids. He’s a young man we truly enjoy being around.”
Unlike last season, when Wisconsin made a big splash by getting four-star wide receiver Kraig Appleton on signing day, things around the football offices were much quieter this time. The only two big attention-grabbers came from a pair of Wisconsin athletes.
Originally committing to a grayshirt offer, meaning he wouldn’t enroll until January 2011, Muskego’s Kyle Costigan was bumped up to a full scholarship offer when one became available two weeks ago.
Accepting a preferred walk-on offer was Milwaukee Marquette linebacker Marcus Trotter, who will join his twin brother, Michael, in UW’s 2010 class. Trotter chose the UW option over scholarship offers from Western Michigan and Wofford and a preferred walk-on opportunity from Minnesota.
Of the 30 athletes who signed with Wisconsin, 16 are from the state, including 10 who received scholarships … Milwaukee Marquette defensive end Cameron Botticelli flipped on signing day, choosing to take a preferred walk-on at Minnesota over the same opportunity at Wisconsin … Mason will be joined in the Badgers’ 2010 class by Madison East quarterback Drew McAdams, a preferred walk-on … Bielema announced senior lineman Jake Bscherer will seek a transfer from the program.