GREEN BAY – Coy Wanner was ecstatic in August to see the envelope from the University of Wisconsin football team on his counter.
The Green Bay Preble senior knew the invitation in the letter to attend any Badgers home game at Camp Randall Stadium was just the ticket he was looking for.
“If I ever got the opportunity to play in Madison, I was going to take it because that’s my dream school,” he said.
Wanner announced Saturday on Twitter his decision to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Wisconsin football team.
The formal offer from the Badgers came when he attended their Oct. 29 game in Madison against Nebraska.
“They liked my stature,” Wanner said. “They see me adapting to wherever they want to put me because they saw the athletic potential to do other things, too.”
Wanner was easy to notice with Preble. After all, you don’t see many 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterbacks with his combination of strength and speed in the state.
Wanner, however, will be looked at for a number of positions with Wisconsin, including outside linebacker or tight end.
“He’s going to excel anywhere you put him,” Preble football coach Tim Larsen said.
“They were really excited about him. They made several comments about how big he is and his athleticism despite being a big guy. He’s somebody that could get bigger at that, too. He can play a lot of different positions. His athleticism allows him to be pretty versatile, so I think he’s a project they are looking forward to.”
Larsen recalls Wanner being a lengthy freshman that weighed about 170 pounds. He changed that by taking up residence in the weight room and currently can bench press 225 pounds an impressive 22 times.
Wanner has bulked up to 240 pounds since the end of his senior season, which saw him earn honorable mention all-Fox River Classic Conference honors after throwing for 784 yards and 14 touchdowns in addition to rushing for 586 and five TDs in 10 games.
He saw some playing time at defensive end at the end of the season as well in helping the Hornets qualify for the WIAA Division 1 playoffs for a sixth straight year.
“It’s exciting to have somebody from Preble go on to play at such a high level,” Larsen said. “I’m excited for Coy. I think playing at Wisconsin is going to be a great opportunity for him.”
Wanner had interest from some NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision programs, but had all but made up his mind about his college plans when he received the initial letter of interest from the Badgers.
He joins former Preble standout quarterback Will Daniels in choosing to tackle an opportunity to walk on with an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team. Daniels finished up his redshirt sophomore year as a linebacker with Northern Illinois last season.
Wanner got the opportunity to lift weights with Daniels last week when the two were at Preble together during winter break. Wanner saw the meeting as motivation to make it as a preferred walk-on as well.
“I’m really excited for it,” Wanner said. “I just want to be anywhere that gives me the best chance to play.
“The list goes on and on about successful walk-on players (Wisconsin) has. They really take care of them. It’s not like some of the other big schools where they only focus their attention on the scholarship athletes. It’s about the team as a whole.”
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