Richland Center defensive lineman Logan Schmidt has a special insight into the University of Wisconsin football team's successful walk-on program.
Fullback Bradie Ewing, who just finished his senior season, is one of those success stories. Not only is Ewing from Richland Center, but his dad and Schmidt's dad were classmates.
Schmidt and Ewing are friends and they talk frequently.
"Obviously, he said it would be a big deal to come (to UW)," Schmidt, an all-state defensive end, said Tuesday. "There's nothing else like it."
Schmidt, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, made the decision last weekend to accept a preferred walk-on offer.
He will be joined by Trent Denlinger (6-6, 270), a tackle from Cuba City, who also accepted a walk-on offer.
Schmidt took his official visit a couple weeks ago, which is when the offer was made.
Schmidt had scholarship offers from smaller schools such as Illinois State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota-State Mankato and Winona State. His interest in walking on at UW from the start might have prevented some larger schools from making offers.
Schmidt grew up a Badgers fan, attending games with his grandparents, who have season tickets.
"My parents, pretty much my whole family, everything would be about the Badgers," Schmidt said. "So, nothing could be better. It's like a dream come true, I guess."
Schmidt has a frame to put on more weight, so he's not sure if he will wind up at defensive tackle or stay at end.
"I've just been talking with the defensive line coach (Charlie Partridge) a lot," he said.
"I know I'll be there (defensive line) somewhere," Schmidt said. "That's all I know."
Konz makes it official
Junior center Peter Konz officially announced he will make himself eligible for the NFL draft.
Konz, from Neenah, took 18 credits in the fall — 12 is a full-time load — so he would graduate in the spring and fulfill a promise he made to his mother, Margaret.
"As you've probably heard, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the NFL draft," Konz said in a statement. "Because of the support I have received, the degree I am so proud to leave with, the football legacy I helped leave behind, and more reasons than I could even remember, I would simply like to say thank you. "Every last person has made my experience at Wisconsin far beyond what I could have imagined and without you I could never be where I am today."
Konz wrote this letter to UW fans.
He started 31 games at center over the past three seasons. He was a finalist this season for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center. He was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches' Association and Pro Football Weekly.
"I knew when we received the information back from the NFL that Pete would have a tough decision ahead of him," UW coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. "He has been one of the most enjoyable players I have had the pleasure to coach."
"I know being a Badger meant the world to him and his family. I want to thank him not only for all his hard work and effort on the field but for also representing our program and the University of Wisconsin in a first-class manner throughout his career."
Some draft projections have Konz being taken late in the first round or early in the second.
His departure means the Badgers must fill three starting spots on the offensive line since they're also losing two seniors: right guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackle Josh Oglesby.
Toon injury not 'serious'
The father of former University of Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon downplayed the severity of a foot injury his son suffered during training sessions in the Los Angeles area.
"At this juncture, it doesn't appear to be anything serious," Al Toon said Tuesday evening. "He should be fine."
Al Toon declined to specify the injury but said that Nick is slated to undergo an MRI. He dismissed a Twitter post by SI.com draft analyst Tony Pauline on Tuesday that stated Nick had suffered a "significant" foot injury.
"I don't know where he got his information," Toon said.
UW (11-3) finished No. 10 in the final Associated Press media poll and No. 11 in the final USA Today coaches' poll. It's the third time in six seasons under Bielema the Badgers have finished in the top 10 in the media poll, finishing seventh after the 2006 and '10 seasons. ... The Badgers are slated to send a school-record six players to the Jan. 28 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Quarterback Russell Wilson, punter Brad Nortman, long snapper Kyle Wojta, Ewing, Zeitler and Toon all accepted invitations. ... Southern Cal wide receiver Kyle Prater announced he will transfer, and his mother said the 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman will choose between UW and Northwestern. Prater, who was the No. 1-ranked receiver recruit and No. 3 overall prospect coming out Proviso West High School in Hillsdale, Ill., would have to sit out the 2012 season and then have two years of eligibility left.