December 3, 2008

Hemer ready for official in Madison

In one of the deeper in-state football classes in recent memory, it would be difficult to find a prospect who has seen his stock rise faster in the last three months than Ethan Hemer, a senior at Medford High School in Wisconsin.

On the heels of two scholarship offers in October, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive lineman is set to take an official visit to Madison this weekend.

"I want to go up there and see the school and meet a few players to see what they have to say," said Hemer, who currently has offers from Northern Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois State. "This (UW) is definitely my top school and I've been waiting for a scholarship offer but its just never come. They offered a preferred walk-on opportunity, so I'm gong to see if it's worth all that time and effort and then earn a scholarship because there's other places I can go."

According to Hemer, take with the Badger staff began just a few months ago, one reason he may be without an offer from UW at this point in the recruiting process.

"I went to their camp this summer, it was either in June or July. I showed up and I wasn't really on their radar but Coach (Bob) Bostad wanted me to come to camp to see how I would stack up against some kids," said Hemer, a second-team selection on the Associated Press all-state team this season. "When I got there, nobody really knew me by face or anything, but I think I really worked hard and made a name for myself and the coaches really seemed to like what they saw.

"Coach (Charlie) Partridge came up to me and said I really turned some heads and then at the end, Coach Bostad said that we'd be in touch to see what happens. Coach (Bret) Bielema then came up to me and said he really liked my frame and said I had a motor that didn't quit. He was really excited to see how I did this year. I think what hurt me was that I was real late getting on their radar. They didn't know about me and I didn't have any big-name colleges to help me sell myself like a lot of other kids had."

Hemer, who reported the Badger staff is recruiting him to play defensive end, admitted he would be surprised if an offer was extended while he was in Madison.

"Honestly, I'd actually be very surprised if they offered me this weekend," he said. "Coach Partridge said he wants to coach me and he really likes me as a player, but he doesn't know if the money is going to be there."

With a handful of other schools currently in the mix, Hemer will have a difficult decision on hands in the next three months. Accept a full scholarship opportunity or walk-on at the school he grew up rooting for?

"It's really going to depend on what I see in these schools and what they'll offer me in terms of playing time and stuff like that," said Hemer, who scored a goal Tuesday night in Medford's game against Park Falls. "It's every kids dream to play for Wisconsin. That's (preferred walk-on offer) going to be tough to beat, but I have to see what these schools have. I'm going to give everyone that gave me an offer a look. So I've got Madison and if that doesn't work out, I still know I have places that play after that.

"North Dakota State said that probably by January I'd know if I was getting an offer. I'm going on an official visit and I think an offer will come there. I'm going out to South Dakota State the weekend after my Badger visit and we'll see if a scholarship comes out of that. The recruiting guy said he really liked me and the coaches just wanted to meet me before they made a decision."

Along with Hemer, it's believed that tight end/linebacker Ethan Bachinski and wide receiver Ben Ericksen have been offered preferred walk-on opportunities at Wisconsin for next season.

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