Jake Chaney has been surrounded by football all through his life.
His father, James, is a former defensive lineman at Florida State and his coach at Lehigh Senior High School in Lehigh Acres, Fla. His older brother, Bud, performs defensive again for The Citadel. His uncle performed at Florida International and his grandfather performed at Virginia State.
“We’re a football family,” Chaney mentioned.
When he grew taller and added weight earlier than his junior football season, carrying on the family custom of enjoying NCAA Division I football turned extra of an eventuality than a want.
The 2021 University of Wisconsin recruit mentioned Thursday that having a gaggle of males who had walked the trail earlier than guiding him on his journey helped him discover the fitting faculty and football program to affix.
“I’m thankful for it. They helped me a lot. They helped with school a lot, taught me things. When I fell down, they helped me back up,” Chaney mentioned of his family. “I’m very grateful for them.”
The Badgers had been one of many first D-I groups to begin closely recruiting Chaney, who put collectively a robust junior season. His 100 tackles helped him earn District 7A participant of the yr honors, and school curiosity began to pour in. He visited the Badgers in late November and watched the workforce’s 45-24 win over Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium.
When he dedicated to UW, Chaney reportedly had 10 affords, which included Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana.
Chaney was capable of determine on UW after having a set of spring visits cancelled as a result of NCAA’s short-term ban on in-person recruiting as a result of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The ban will likely be reassessed on April 15, however Chaney mentioned he took a number of days to assume and pray about his alternative.
UW’s early foot within the door and the direct involvement of Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard helped Chaney understand how severe the Badgers had been.
“When they offered me, I definitely wanted to go,” he mentioned. “(The offer) was a great moment. Jim Leonhard had come to the school and talked to me. When I went home that day, he gave me a phone call and said I had an offer. It felt great.”
Despite being of their state, Chaney didn’t get affords from Miami, Florida, or Florida State — one thing he says will add some further gasoline to his hearth his senior season.
“It kind of motivates me a little bit,” he mentioned. “At the end of the day, it is what it is. When I play against those Florida guys (next season), I’ll have a little bit more to play for.”
James Chaney mentioned Jake discovered the intricacies of enjoying linebacker as a sophomore when he did not have the dimensions to overpower opponents.
“Jake understands technique. He understands how to play the position,” James mentioned. “I’m not saying he’s perfect right now, but he understands how to scrape, he understands how to attack, he understands where the play direction is going. He understands how to watch him. Those are the things that’ve really helped him play faster. He doesn’t just line up and out-athlete everybody, he really, seriously studies the position.”
Because of his dimension — 6-foot, 200 kilos — and the way in which he hits as an Three-Four inside linebacker, Chaney is already drawing comparisons to Chris Orr, the senior linebacker who graduated from UW this yr.
After being a reserve behind the likes of now-NFL linebackers T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly, Orr is on his technique to the NFL after a senior yr by which he had 78 tackles, 11½ sacks and 5 cross breakups. Chaney mentioned he understands the comparisons, and is aware of the impression Orr had within the locker room, one thing he noticed up shut when he visited.
“It’s a great comparison. But at the end of the day, I want to be my own person, build my own legacy at UW. Even though he’s a great player and it’s a great comparison, and it’s a lot to try to step into those shoes, I’m going to be my own player,” he mentioned.
Chaney mentioned he’s unsure if his path will observe Orr’s towards an opportunity within the NFL, however he does need to mimic Orr’s work as a scholar. Orr earned his grasp’s diploma in December, one thing Chaney mentioned he might contemplate.
“I don’t really see it as my goal to get to the NFL. I just want to get my degree, have my education paid for,” he mentioned. “When I went on a visit, they showed me Jonathan Taylor had gotten his degree in three years. They said if I redshirted, there’s a strong possibility I could get my master’s. That swayed me a lot.”
Chaney mentioned UW’s tutorial prospects had been extra influential than its current run of success with linebackers making their technique to the NFL.
With his recruiting over, Chaney can concentrate on his closing highschool season. Preparing for that yr has been altered considerably throughout novel coronavirus shutdowns, as gyms and different companies have closed. Chaney’s observe season can be in jeopardy.
But he mentioned he’s discovering methods to coach and is able to lead a younger workforce subsequent season at Lehigh, which received a district championship final season.
“Everybody can get stronger and faster. I want to improve my pass drops, really every facet of my game,” he mentioned. “Even though we won our district championship, we lost a lot of games, I’d like to improve on that. But it’s kind of great having a successful high school career and being able to play at the next level.”
Chaney will flip 17 in August, that means he’ll have simply turned 18 when the Badgers begin fall camp in 2021. James mentioned he desires to see his son proceed to mature as a pacesetter and proceed growing his abilities.
“Physically, he can do it on the high school level,” James mentioned. “I want him to become more of a leader and take the young kids under his wing, set a great example. I want the kids to know and see the example Jake sets as far as hard work and doing things while nobody is watching to get him to the level he is now.”
Get to know the Wisconsin Badgers’ 2021 football recruiting class
JP Benzschawel, an offensive lineman out of Grafton, was the primary recruit within the Badgers’ 2021 class, persevering with the family custom at UW.
Benzschawel’s brothers, Beau (2015-18) and Luke (2016-19) performed offensive line and tight finish, respectively, for the Badgers. His father, Scott (1983-87) and uncle Eric (1988-92) additionally performed football for UW.
Benzschawel is likely one of the top-ranked offensive tackles within the nation. A four-star recruit on 247sports activities, and ESPN, and a three-star on Rivals, Benzschawel is a top-200 recruit nationally by 247sports activities and ESPN.
Blessed and honored to be verbally committing to the University of Wisconsin to play football! #OnWisconsin #GoBadgers 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/04616mdfIp
— JP Benzschawel (@jp_benzschawel) February 1, 2019
Jackson Acker, a operating again from Verona, dedicated to the Badgers quickly after receiving a suggestion in June 2019.
UW was Acker’s first scholarship provide after his sophomore season, however he used it as momentum for a robust junior marketing campaign at Verona High School. He was a first-team operating again on the Wisconsin State Journal’s All-Area workforce, speeding for 929 yards and 11 touchdowns in eight video games.
Acker is a three-star recruit in accordance with 247sports activities, Rivals and ESPN.
Deacon Hill, a quarterback from Santa Barbara, Calif., dedicated to the Badgers in July 2019.
A 6-foot-Four, 225-pound, pro-style prospect, Hill was a part of wave of recruiting commitments for UW. Hill turned down affords from Kansas State and Nevada in favor of the Badgers.
Hill turned heads at an Elite 11 regional camp in California along with his large arm and deep throws. He is the lone quarterback to date within the 2021 class, and the 2020 class added only one in walk-on Daniel Wright.
Hill is listed as a three-star recruit by 247sports activities, Rivals and ESPN.
Loyal Crawford, a operating again from Eau Claire, Wis., dedicated to the Badgers in August 2019.
A quick, shifty and explosive again, Crawford was restricted to 5 video games as a junior on account of damage. Still, he tallied 671 speeding yards and 11 touchdowns in that span. He was one of many first freshmen to go well with up for a varsity sport at Eau Claire Memorial High School.
Crawford — listed at 6-foot and 190 kilos — is a three-star recruit per 247sports activities, Rivals and ESPN.
UW’s scholarship provide the primary Division I provide Crawford had acquired, in accordance with a number of retailers.
Riley Mahlman, an offensive lineman from Lakeville, Minn., dedicated to the Badgers after watching them defeat Michigan at Camp Randall Stadium in September 2019.
Mahlman is ranked as a four-star prospect by 247sports activities and ESPN, and a three-star by Rivals. He’s ranked as the highest recruit within the state of Minnesota by 247sports activities and ESPN, and the No. 2 Minnesota product by Rivals. UW beat out Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, Florida and others for Mahlman.
With Mahlman and 2020 linebacker Kaden Johnson, the Badgers secured the top-ranked recruit out of Minnesota in consecutive years.
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound deal with additionally performed tight finish for Lakeville South High School.
— Riley Mahlman (@riley_mahlman) September 22, 2019
Bryan Sanborn, an inside linebacker from Lake Zurich, Ill., dedicated to UW in December 2019.
Sanborn, the youthful brother of Badgers inside linebacker Jack Sanborn, is a three-star recruit in accordance with 247sports activities, Rivals and ESPN.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect had a handful of Power Five affords, together with Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. Bryan’s late father, Paul, performed football at Oregon.
— Bryan Sanborn (@bryan_sanborn21) December 13, 2019
Ayo Adebogun, a linebacker/defensive finish hailing from Mequon, dedicated to the Badgers in December 2019.
The 6-foot-Three, 205-pounder was a second-team all-state choice by the Wisconsin Associated Press as a junior, a season by which he tallied 16 sacks and 75 whole tackles.
The Homestead High School product is a three-star recruit per 247sports activities, Rivals and ESPN.
— Ayo Adebogun (@AdebogunAyo) December 16, 2019
Hunter Wohler, a security out of Muskego, orally dedicated to UW simply earlier than Christmas 2019.
Rated by a number of recruiting websites as one of the best or second-best prospect in Wisconsin in his class, Wohler helped Muskego to an unbeaten file and a WIAA Division I state championship as a junior. Wohler had 122 whole tackles and two interceptions as a junior, and he was named the state’s Associated Press’ participant of the yr.
Wohler — listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 kilos — is rated as a four-star recruit by 247sports activities, Rivals, and ESPN. He’s ranked because the No. 298 total prospect within the 2021 class by ESPN.
Jake Chaney, a linebacker out of Lehigh Acres, Fla., dedicated to the Badgers in March 2020.
The 6-foot, 200-pound prospect is a three-star recruit in accordance with 247sports activities and Rivals.
He was the District 7A participant of the yr final season after recording 100 tackles as a junior. Jake Chaney’s father, James, is his coach at Lehigh Senior High School and performed at Florida State from 1988-1991.
Chaney was the third linebacker and ninth total recruit within the 2021 class.
MY RECRUITMENT IS 100% SHUT DOWN‼️ #ALLIN #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/ur4p6KP1DZ
— Jake Chaney (@JakeChaney9) March 15, 2020