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November 27, 2013

Badgers flip in-state lineman

Jacob Maxwell had two trips to Wisconsin penciled into his schedule this week.

It only took one for Gary Andersen and his staff to flip Maxwell's commitment from Northern Illinois. The Badgers received a pledge from the in-state lineman Wednesday during an unofficial visit.

"I committed to the Badgers," Maxwell told BadgerBlitz.com. "I'm 100 percent committed and I'm very excited.

"Wisconsin offers me the chance to play football in one of the best conference in the country. Also, it sets me up to have a great opportunity to play in the NFL and to be successful after college with a great degree."

A 6-foot-7, 280-pound prospect from Greendale, Maxwell joins an offensive line class for the Badgers that also includes in-state standouts Jaden Gault and George Panos, in addition to athlete Beau Benzschawel, who could play tight end or tackle in college. Ohio's Michael Deiter rounds out the group.

"I had a chance to talk with (offensive line coach) T.J. Woods today," Maxwell said. "He seems like a great guy and I can't wait to play for him."

Greendale head coach Rob Stoltz believes his senior lineman had three important things Andersen and his staff were looking for.

"I think you look at Jake and the first thing you see is his size, and that's ultimately the first criteria you have to have at that position to play at the next level," Stoltz told BadgerBlitz.com. "He fits the bill for that. I think the next two things you look at are footwork and if he has that nastiness to him with the ability to finish plays. In all three of those categories, it's an easy checkmark for all three with Jake. When you consider his athleticism on top of it, I don't think there's any question he's right where he belongs.

"Northern Illinois, that's an up-and-coming program and the guys there really do their homework. They were very diligent and were on Jake early, but Jake can certainly play at the Big Ten level."

Stoltz also believes Maxwell, who plans to return to Madison on Saturday with prep teammate Mitchell Brees, can play multiple spots on the offensive line.

"Jake can play on the left and right side," Stolz said. "Coming into this year, he was more comfortable on the right side. But as the season progressed, I think he's more comfortable on the left side. And I think that all goes back to his athleticism.

"He's not prone to being dominant on one side or even interior versus exterior. I think he's versatile enough to play any spot on that line."

Maxwell, an all-state selection this fall, is the 22nd member of Wisconsin's 2014 recruiting class.

"I feel amazing," Maxwell said. "It's been my dream to be a Badger since I was young."

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