The early signing period arrives for the first time on Dec. 20. Most of Wisconsin’s 19 committed prospects in the 2018 class are expected to sign. With that in mind, Land of 10 is taking a look at some of the members of that class as a primer for what to expect once they arrive on campus.
Michael Furtney’s list of scholarship offers had ballooned to 26 by March, and the amount of attention he received from college coaches could have overwhelmed many high school football prospects. But the manner in which he handled the entire process ― and ultimately picked Wisconsin ― demonstrated his character and maturity.
After each offer, he made a point to sit down with his family, as well as his football coach, Jesse Hoskins, to discuss the plusses and minuses.
“He was always much more concerned with the fit than the glitz and glam of the recruiting process,” Hoskins told Land of 10 in August.
One of Hoskins’ final conversations with Furtney about recruiting helped to hammer home that point and solidify Furtney’s choice. Furtney was particularly enamored with Wisconsin at the time Hoskins posed a question about what other scholarship offers could be looming. He ran through scenarios in which Michigan, Alabama and Florida State all put Furtney squarely on their radars.
“What if June comes around and Jim Harbaugh wants to spend the night at your house?” Hoskins recalled asking Furtney. “Or what if Nick Saban comes into town or Jimbo Fisher comes into town? What will that mean to you?”
Furtney provided an answer that sealed his decision.
“It got to the point where no matter who he named off, it never mattered,” Furtney said. “I didn’t care. I’d always say Wisconsin. I live 10 minutes from Ann Arbor, and if U of M came knocking on my door, it wouldn’t faze me one bit. That’s how confident I am in my decision. It’s been a great feeling.”
When Furtney visited Wisconsin on March 14, about six weeks after receiving his Badgers scholarship offer, he knew there wasn’t anything left to consider. So, he committed to Wisconsin on the same day, becoming the only offensive lineman in the Badgers’ 2018 recruiting class. Furtney previously had taken unofficial visits to Wisconsin in September and January. Furtney officially signed with the Badgers on Wednesday.
“I wanted to make sure I picked the best place for me and for my future,” Furtney said. “When I committed to Wisconsin, it kind of took that weight off because I knew I picked the right place. Personally, I don’t feel like there’s a better school in the nation.”
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) December 20, 2017
Furtney only began playing on the offensive line midway through his sophomore season, when his high school team’s starting left tackle sustained a broken leg. The rest, as they say, is history. He has been a dominant force since.
Hoskins called Furtney “truly a man among boys.”
“When he gets on the field, he’s just nasty,” Hoskins said. “He’s a snap-to-the-whistle nasty player. He wants to bury guys, he wants to physically dominate people. So that’s what’s fun about watching Mike on the field is that nastiness, that willingness to get after it.”
Hometown: Milan, Mich.
Ranking: 3-star prospect, No. 18 player in Michigan, No. 58 offensive tackle in the country
Committed: March 14, 2017
How he fits in: Furtney is the only offensive lineman in Wisconsin’s 2018 recruiting class. The Badgers have built up tremendous depth on the line since Paul Chryst took over as coach three seasons ago. There are 17 offensive linemen on the roster, and none of them are seniors. That allowed the staff to be selective in this class. Furtney might have to bide his team given the number of players ahead of him. But he certainly has the talent to be stellar at Wisconsin down the road.
247Sports evaluation from Allen Trieu: “Gets off the ball well with good initial quickness and pad level. Generally moves around the field very easily and with good coordination for his size. Leaner-framed kid, but has added bulk in the offseason and is beginning to fill in more. Shows good bend, overall agility and coordination. Does well in space. Looks to finish and plays to the whistle. Still needs to keep filling in and get stronger. He also needs to continue to polish pass pro technique. Does not play great great competition at the high school level. May need a year or two but definitely has the tools and very good upside.”
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