Wisconsin Badgers 2021 linebacker Jake Chaney guided by football family |


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



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