April 14, 2012

QB receives spring game invite

It's an important recruiting stretch for Wisconsin on the quarterback front with arguably its top two uncommitted prospects -- Aaron Bailey (visiting April 12) and Kevin Olsen -- expected on campus in the next few days.

Should the Badgers not be able to earn a commitment from either four-star junior, the staff is keeping tabs on a number of signal callers in the 2013 class.

The latest name to emerge on Wisconsin's radar is Conor Rhoda, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect from Cretin-Derham Hall in Minnesota.

"I received an invite as a 'top 2013 prospect' from Wisconsin to attend their spring game," Rhoda told BadgerBlitz.com. "I have a baseball game that day. I receive quite a bit of mail from them and just heard from a new recruiting coordinator, coach Mike Markuson.

"Coach (Bob) Bostad was in touch quite a bit throughout the school year before he went to Pittsburgh."

Rhoda is also hearing from a handful of other schools from across the Midwest, with the in-state Gophers receiving a recent visit.

"Right now, I am talking with Minnesota," Rhoda said. "I attended their spring practice last Thursday. I had the opportunity to sit on the quarterbacks meetings and talk with coach (Jerry) Kill. They are taking a more conservative approach to recruiting quarterbacks this year and insist on not making any offers until after their camp this summer.

"I was encouraged to attend as many practices as I can and to come to camp -- they want me at position camp as well as the one-day senior camp. I am planning on attending practice on April 19 again. The tough thing for me is that I am a starting pitcher for Cretin-Derham Hall so I have three games a week as well as practices. I have to miss a baseball practice to attend the practice."

In addition to Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota, North Dakota State and Iowa State, among others, are in contact.

"Wyoming is showing a lot of interest right now," Rhoda said. "Coach Jim Harding is coming to visit on Monday, April 30. He is also coming to my baseball game vs. Woodbury that afternoon. They have said that they are excited about me because they run a very similar offense to CDH.

"UND and NDSU have both invited me out to their spring games and are showing interest. I can't attend either game as I have a baseball game those days. I was also invited to Northern Iowa's junior day last weekend, but was not able to make it.

"I have heard from Iowa State several times in the past few weeks. They want me out at their camp this summer. It sounds like I am in the mix. I just need to show them what I can do. I am sorting through invites and personal notes from other schools such as Michigan and Boston College to determine what the situation is there and determine if I should attend their camps this summer."

Though his recruitment got off to a bit of a slow start, Rhoda is riding a recent wave of confidence after an event in Michigan.

"I just got back from the Best of the Midwest Invitational in Ann Arbor last weekend," he said. "I was named one of the five quarterback MVPs. Included in that five was Shane Morris, a 2013 Michigan committ.

"The main purpose for me to attend this camp was to see where I stacked up against some of the big recruits in my class. I now feel confident that I am in the mix with some of the top quarterback talent in the 2013 class. I've been somewhat under the radar since I didn't take over as the starting quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall until game five of my junior season. I replaced the returning starting senior, who was also the team captain."

With the heightened exposure, Rhoda is learning that the recruitment at his position is unique in comparison to other spots on the football field.

"I am quickly learning that the business of quarterback recruiting is tricky," Rhoda said. "I am educating myself on what quarterbacks the different programs recruited for 2012 and who they have on their depth charts.

"Many programs are only recruiting one quarterback in 2013 and I am trying to get my video out to those schools that I think will be a good fit."

Rhoda recently received an invite to the Semper Fi All American Bowl tryouts in Osseo, Minn., in July.

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