February 2, 2011

Signing day with coach Rudolph

MADISON - Joe Rudolph has emerged as one of the best, if not the top, recruiters on Bret Bielema's staff. What is seemingly developing into a yearly tradition on this day, Rudolph was responsible for landing six of the 20 signees in the 2011 class, mostly from the state of Ohio.

With most of the six recruits he was able to secure being highly touted, the job Rudolph did yet again in 2011 cannot go without mention. So, following Bielema's 30-minutes press conference unveiling his newest recruiting cycle, BadgerBlitz.com took some time to chat with coach Rudolph.

The following is a question and answer with the fourth-year tight end's coach.

Well, another great recruiting class turned in. You were back at it pulling kids out of Ohio yet again.

Rudolph: Yeah, you're just hoping to find guys that complement each other and are good kids. Wherever they're from it's a positive.

You've been doing this year in and year out, just getting a lot of high quality guys from out of state, Ohio particularly. What's your style? What is it about you that you think these kids are drawn to?

Rudolph: I just think you find guys that you feel would appreciate what your program is about and would kind of model and champion those things. I think a lot of times you see the match and hopefully you can create a vision for them where they can kind of see it, too.

Is it just the way you carry yourself when you enter a home? I mean, do you allude trust and the guys just become…

Rudolph: It's kind of funny because you don't really even get to the home until a lot of these guys have decided to come. I think the one thing you have is a great product to offer in Wisconsin. I think it relates to a lot of the guys. Coach Bielema mentioned about in state where they really appreciate what the program is about. You try to find people wherever you're at that appreciate those values that you hope to exude. I think those things kind of speak and then you speak of those things. I think the match kind of happens.

I remember asking you this last year on this day, just what kind of reception you get when you go to schools in Ohio or wherever you recruit in your area. Do you notice it becoming even more welcomed if you guys have success on the field like you did last year?

Rudolph: Granted you have a little bit more of a tough reception getting through a couple of offices this year. But I think they appreciate the toughness, the hard work and the good kids. I think they appreciate what you're about and I think that is what they are very receptive to. That's not the first time they've heard those things from their coach or from their home so I think that allows them to see it sooner and quicker and appreciate it.

One of the guys I'm really intrigued by in this class is Mike Caputo. He breaks his ankle early on in the year, but you look at his offer list and it's pretty ridiculous the kind of offers he had. What kind of kid are you getting with him?

Rudolph: You know, I feel real strong about Michael. He's a really good kid. He was the WPIL Player of the Year as a junior. I know the program he's been through and coach Palko and the type of worker he is. I think he put his ability along with how he'll approach it. You feel good about his opportunity to be real successful here.

What's his mindset been like this year? It had to have been tough for him losing the rest of his season in the first game.

Rudolph: I think I was more upset when I called him the first time. He was okay but he was obviously very disappointed. It's funny because he used the opportunity to really champion some other roles. He's really involved in giving back, but I don't know if he sees it that way. He's involved with young people that aren't in the same position he is. He champions them. He works with Special Olympics basketball and he worked weekends where he actually had a player wear his jersey each week and go out to midfield as the captain to represent him but also to shine the light on them for a little bit. He's that type of kid. He's very humble.

That's what you guys are looking for.

Rudolph: Yeah, it's a good trait.

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