MADISON, Wis. – 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.
The only prospect Wisconsin signed last February, and likely the biggest impact true freshman of the season, cornerback Rachad Wildgoose is this week’s feature.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Wildgoose: I just learned that you’ve got to be open and friendly. You can’t close yourself in or you miss out on all these opportunities you could have, like meeting this person, meeting friends. You also have to be more responsible living by yourself. You’ve got to clean your stuff take out the trash, all that small stuff. School wise it’s kind of the same. You’ve still got to work but it’s probably a little bit more work.
What was the big adjustment to playing on the field this season compared to your high school season?
Wildgoose: Honestly, it’s the same, just more people watching. Of course, everybody is better, but you are better, too, so I’m coming for you. It just evens stuff out.
How did you prepare your body for fall camp knowing you’d be going against older, more talented players?
Wildgoose: I always ran track, so I ran track my senior year. Track season ended in May, so I had two months to myself to work on the small things like getting out of breaks (and) hand-eye coordination.
What do you think your strengths are and what are some areas you are trying to clean up moving forward?
Wildgoose: I feel like my best trait is I can make plays. What I need to work on is catching (the ball), but I know I can make plays.
Other than the weather, what’s the big difference living in Madison from your hometown of Miramar, Fla.?
Wildgoose: People are very nice. There are good people in Florida, too, but not as much as here. Other than that and the weather, which is a big change, it’s pretty much the same.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Wildgoose: Communications Arts. I want to be a broadcaster.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Wildgoose: Honestly, my dorm to just chill.
Who are you living with this fall and how is that going?
Wildgoose: Aron Cruickshank. That’s my boy.
Who is the most unique thing you’ve learned about Aron?
Wildgoose: He sings at night before he goes to sleep. He sings a whole lullaby, any song, he’s going to sing it.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Wildgoose: My biggest support comes from my family. My mom, my dad, my cousins, siblings. I get support from coaches, like my college coaches. My high school coaches support me, too. My teammates give me support. If you’re not feeling it, they’ll ask you what’s wrong and pick you up.
What’s your family’s reaction when you told them you wanted to pursue college football and you started your journey at this school?
Wildgoose: My dad was super excited because he didn’t go to college. He was excited because we had been talking about this since I was in fifth grades and now I have to maximize my opportunity. My mom went to college and she was so proud of me.
You opted not to sign during the early signing period. What made Wisconsin the right place for you when you decided to sign?
Wildgoose: When I got here, it felt genuine. Everyone felt cool. It felt they were acting how they would act all the time, even if I wasn’t here. Some schools act different when you are on your visit and you don’t get treated how you normally would. Here, I fit in with the players well.
Was there anything crazy or weird about your recruiting process?
Wildgoose: I was close to signing with Georgia. I was committed to Georgia before the early signing period. I only think I took one official and I hadn’t taken one to Georgia. I only took an unofficial visit there. I hadn’t taken all my officials, so I wanted to wait and take my officials.
What places did you end up checking out?
Wildgoose: I want to NC State, UCF, Florida, Wisconsin and Georgia. I de-committed from Georgia in January. If I would have signed, it would have been with Georgia. I de-committed to see what other schools were interested. When you commit other schools fall off on you, so I wanted to see who was really there for me.
What has been the best part of this experience so far, getting the chance to put on the Wisconsin jersey and be a part of this program?
Wildgoose: The most fun part to me is when we come out the tunnel, the whole crowd is packed. I love that feeling every time.