The Freshman Fifteen – A.J. Abbott

The Freshman Fifteen – A.J. Abbott

Football

The Freshman Fifteen – A.J. Abbott

MADISON, Wis. – A.J. Abbott had accomplished his dream. Now he just had to choose the path.

Having an older sister play volleyball at Northwestern and another who is on Purdue track and field team, Abbott wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a Big Ten athlete. His high school accolades warranted that opportunity. He was a standout track athlete, claiming the Michigan Division 1 state title in the long jump (23-7 1/4) as a senior, and was stellar as a receiver, scoring 24 touchdowns and logged 2,928 total yards across high school career.

So when the offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin came in, those choices meant more to him that all the schools that offered from the Mid-American Conference. And with one of his good friends, receiver Taj Mustapha, already committed to the Badgers, Abbott signed up to hopefully remake Wisconsin’s downfield passing attack.

Back for a ninth season, we seek out the incoming freshmen to find out answers to on-the-field and off-the-field questions to get to know these Badgers better. Asking them 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

 What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Abbott: Just being accountable for yourself, taking care of yourself, being on time for everything, going to every class, being on your own, washing your own clothes, going to practice every day and do all the other things you have to do. You can’t be late. That’s the big part.

You come from a very good high school football program in Michigan. What has been the big adjustment to playing at a program like Wisconsin and adjusting to this level?

Abbott: Definitely the speed of the game is faster. The players, of course, are bigger and everything but the high school I come from we went against athletes like that all the time. A lot of guys were highly recruited, guys who were good. That kind of got me prepared to be here and going against the guys in practice every day haven’t been a problem for me.

How did you prepare your body for fall camp knowing you’d be going against older, more talented players?

Abbott: I worked on my legs a lot, like speed work and explosiveness. I ran a lot of laps on the track and worked on my agility. Basically, a lot of explosive stuff because you’ve got to have speed in this league. You can’t be slow.

What do you think your strengths are?

Abbott: I think I am a big receiver with speed and quickness. We really don’t have a lot of that right now, so I think I bring a big receiver who can blow the top off that defenses have to adjust to.

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