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Hammon eager to be a Badger

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Gazette staff
February 3, 2011

Nate Hammon doesn’t mind waiting one more day to make it official.


The only thing that matters to the Milton High School football standout is being a Badger.


Hammon was to sign a national letter of intent today to play football for the University of Wisconsin.


Wisconsin sent Hammon the documents needed to sign via Federal Express on Tuesday night—the day before the official signing date—but the blizzard delayed the arrival until this morning.


A scholarship at the UW for the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hammon, who had verbally commited to Illinois State, became available when Wisconsin juniors J.J. Watt and John Clay opted for the NFL Draft.


Hammon, a gifted quarterback who has the athletic ability to make a switch to defensive back or wide receiver, accounted for 35 touchdowns last season for Milton. He completed 113 of 190 passes for 2,077 yards and 19 TDs.


Hammon added 819 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns for a Red Hawk team that lost in the second round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs to eventual state champion Waunakee. He also earned All-Badger South honors as a punter, averaging 36.1 yards on 30 punts.


“I feel bad about not going to Illinois State because they treated me so well,” Hammon said. “But when the difference for travel is 30 minutes to Madison to three hours at Illinois State, the decision was easy.


“I didn’t think I had a chance to go to Wisconsin, but when Watt and Clay turned pro, that opened a couple scholarships up.”


Hammon won’t know until today whether he is a Badger in 2011 or has to wait until the 2012 season. If two Florida high school recruits choose Wisconsin, Hammon will gray-shirt next season. Hammon would be allowed to attend Wisconsin and use the facilities but could not take more than six credits or work out with the team.


Hammon is not the only Red Hawk to commit. Senior Ashley Roherty signed with the Western Illinois women’s soccer program, while Philip McCarthy will play football at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.


Also joining Hammon at Wisconsin will be Waunakee’s Austin Maly (tight end) and walk-on Derek Strauss (fullback).


Delavan-Darien’s prolific 1-2 punch of tailback/wide receiver Justin Fowlkes and quarterback Austin Fritzinger both signed Wednesday to play football. Fowlkes will join Monona Grove’s Zach Zweifel at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the reigning national champion in Division II.


“Justin was told he would probably play wide receiver his first year because their running backs were underclassmen,” Delavan-Darien coach Steve Tenhagen said. “But he will definitely play on special teams, and I’m sure once they see the kind of player that he is, they will utilize him in as many different ways as they can to get the football in his hands.”


Fritzinger, a quarterback, will play at Minnesota State-Mankato.


“Austin will probably start out staying at quarterback, but he could easily make the switch to the secondary. He’s very open-minded about it all, and just wanted the chance to play college football.”


Delavan-Darien’s Eric Polzin will play football at Division II Upper Iowa University.


Clinton’s Laura Popanz signed a national letter of intent to compete in track and field at Augustana College, a Division II school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.



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