Kenosha Tremper wide receiver-cornerback Jazz Peavy was flying under the radar of college football teams only a month ago.
Now, Peavy is flying high after giving an oral commitment to the University of Wisconsin.
“I just feel like it will make me play so much harder and (I) have to work so much harder,” Peavy said after committing to the Badgers on Sunday, following a strong perfor mance at the team’s one-day camp. “I have to start training at that college level now.”
Peavy was one of two in-state products to commit to the Badgers on Sunday. Wisconsin Rapids offensive lineman Hayden Biegel agreed to a grayshirt offer, meaning he will join the team in January 2014. Hayden is the younger brother of Vince Biegel, an incoming freshman linebacker for the Badgers.
“When Vince committed to Wisconsin, I wanted to get an offer to Wisconsin,” Hayden Biegel said. “When I was presented with the opportunity, I was pretty excited to have a chance and go play with my brother. Being able to play with him in high school was pretty fun. So, (now) I’ll be able to play with him in college.”
Peavy, 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, had no idea where he stood following his junior year. He played in a run-heavy offense as a junior, catching 22 passes for about 400 yards and four touchdowns.
“I never really knew where I stood or anything,” he said of currently being unranked by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. “I didn’t know what people thought about me. I guess I was a pretty underrated player.
“When I go to camps, I do impress, but I didn’t know if I’d impress that much.”
Peavy started to get noticed after his performance at a camp in Champaign, Ill., earlier this month, when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He quickly picked up offers after that from Minnesota, Central Michigan and Wyoming.
He backed up his strong testing by performing well on both sides of the ball at UW’s camp.
“It showed all of the colleges I can obviously put up good combine numbers and all of that,” Peavy said of the Champaign workout. “It’s just a matter of time until I could show them what those numbers could really do (on the field).”
Still, Peavy never expected an offer so quickly from the Badgers, who now have eight known commitments in a small 2013 class that may not exceed 12 available scholarships.
“I didn’t go into that camp thinking something like that could happen to me,” Peavy said. “Kind of when I got pulled over to the side and they told me (UW coach Bret Bielema) wanted to talk to me after camp and to stick around, it went through my mind a little bit, but I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Peavy said the Badgers like him on both sides of the ball and they would allow him to decide where he wants to play.
“Coach Bielema, when they offered me, said, ‘We think you’d be amazing at both positions, so whichever one you’d like to play, you can go for that,’ ’’ said Peavy, who added he likes both positions too much to choose right now.
Peavy said he was excited about playing close to home, the players in the program, the coaching staff and all the Badgers have accomplished the last few years.
“It’s a wonderful place to be around and they’re just doing great things,” he said. “I would love to be a part of that. I couldn’t pass that up.”
Neither could Biegel, who bypassed offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Iowa State.
With such a small class for next year, the Badgers have to get creative. Biegel, who first got his UW offer in mid-March, is the second grayshirt commit, joining Northland Pines athlete Austin Ramesh. Both players will be able to participate in team workouts next summer, but their scholarships won’t start until the following semester.
Biegel, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, believes the extra time will be beneficial since he needs to put on weight.
“I have a big frame right now,” he said. “That will give me more time to work on my pass (blocking) and put on weight. It’ll be good for me.”
Biegel admitted he struggled with his pass blocking at UW’s camp, especially against defensive tackle Sam Raridon, from West Des Moines, Iowa, who also has a UW offer.
“He mauled me a few times,” Biegel said. “He got underneath me.”
Biegel is in his third year as an offensive lineman, having played in the defensive line prior to that. He is the son of Rocky Biegel, who was a linebacker at Brigham Young.
“He knew what to talk to Vince about,” Hayden said of his dad, “but he didn’t know anything about the offensive line. I was on my own.”
Hayden Biegel has much in common with another UW commit, Pewaukee defensive end T.J. Watt, the younger brother of former Badgers defensive end J.J. Watt and current UW redshirt freshman linebacker Derek Watt. In fact, T.J. Watt is one of the members of the 2013 class Hayden Biegel has gotten to know through Facebook.
“A lot of people had their eyes on Vince,” Hayden said of following a successful older brother. “I would say it made me want to work harder in the weight room. I would say it kind of pushed me to see what I could turn out to be.”