Rapids’ Biegel impresses

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Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Monday, January 30, 2012
— Tony Biolo, football coach at Wisconsin Rapids High School, remembers how the seventh-grader wasn’t intimidated despite training alongside players four and five years older.

“When he started working out, there was no messing around,” Biolo said of Vince Biegel, now a 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior linebacker at Rapids. “He didn’t want to just do sit-ups and push-ups. He wanted to lift and do speed workouts.

“He was more disciplined in doing those things than the normal kids …

“He has had some pretty high goals for an awful long time.”

Five years later, Biegel is a touted member of Wisconsin’s 2012 freshman class.

Three members of the class have already enrolled at UW—tailback Vonte Jackson from Kenosha Bradford, offensive lineman Dan Voltz from Barrington, Ill., and defensive back Hugs Etienne from Plantation, Fla.

Biegel and at least eight other players have given UW oral commitments and are expected to sign Wednesday.

Biegel had scholarship offers from at least 10 schools, including Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Tennessee.

He ultimately chose Wisconsin over BYU, where his father, Rocky Biegel, played linebacker from 1988-’91; and his uncle, T.D. Biegel, played fullback from 1992-’94.

“It was definitely a tough choice between two great schools,” Vince Biegel said. “I have the utmost respect for both programs. … I became attached to both schools, and it was hard to let one of the schools down.

“I trust the coaches there (UW), and I wanted to stay close to home where my family and friends could watch me.”

Asked about the recruiting process and his ultimate decision, Vince Biegel said he didn’t sense pressure at home to play at BYU.

“My family has been great the whole time,” he said. “They told me they wanted me to go to the place that was best for me.

“Obviously my dad was a great player and he had choices. He left it up to me. He wanted me to be happy.”

Recruiting rankings can be dubious, but Biegel earlier this month played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which features many of the top recruits in the nation.

The UW staff envisions Biegel as a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and Biolo believes the productivity in college will match or surpass expectations.

“I think he can be as good a player as he wants to become,” Biolo said. “He can be something pretty special if he continues to work like he has at this level.”

According to Biolo, you can discern Biegel’s size, speed and quickness by watching him on the field.

Yet you’d have to see him train in the weight room and on the practice field and interact with his teammates and schoolmates to get a fuller appreciation for why he could be a special player at UW.

“He loves playing, loves hitting,” Biolo said. “Everything he does is 100 miles an hour and 100 percent.”

Biolo has noticed another trait that will help inside the UW locker room.

“As good as an athlete as he is—and this is something I’ve said for a long time—he is a better person,” Biolo said. “He doesn’t have to be around the best of the best.

“In a phys-ed class, he will typically take on some of the kids who are aren’t as athletically gifted and put them on his team and just take care of them.

“That is a rare quality in some of those top guys. He’s got a huge heart and a lot of humility.”

“And that is a tribute to his parents. They are excellent, excellent people.”

Biegel wasn’t shy about talking about his goals for 2012 at UW. His attitude is to play rather than redshirt, though he insisted he doesn’t expect to be given anything not earned.

“I’ve worked hard my whole life,” he said. “Going to Wisconsin I know I’m going to have to work my butt off. I’m not expecting it to be handed to me. I’m expecting to work my butt off.

“My goal is to become the best football player I can be and in my first couple years contribute any way I can.

“And obviously try to win a Big Ten championship every year.”

Last updated: 7:13 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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