Kyle Dodson grew up an Ohio State fan from Cleveland and thought his dream was to grow up and play for the Buckeyes one day. That was until he visited Wisconsin.
"Growing up I always rooted for the Buckeyes because where I'm from everybody roots for them and hates Michigan", Dodson said. "But then as I started to get recruited, my grandma told me to really take a look at other schools besides Ohio State to make sure I was making the right decision and the best fit for me".
That right decision apparently was to take his talents to Madison, Wisconsin where he committed to Bret Bielema and the Wisconsin Badgers earlier this evening. The commitment came just 24 hours after receiving the coveted OSU offer that was on hold as the Buckeye staff awaited a qualifying ACT score. Dodson said getting the OSU offer last night "made things much harder" but he chose the Badgers because "it just felt right and I think they had the best tools to help me fulfill my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL".
The timing was certainly weird for a decision to commit to UW, as things appeared to be swinging to the Scarlet and Gray with Luke Fickell finally giving Dodson an official offer. The Bucks had been waiting to extend a scholarship to the 6-6/310 offensive lineman per a deal Jim Tressel made with the Cleveland Heights standout that stated that he would get an offer once he had a qualifying ACT score.
Many Buckeye fans think "slow playing" Dodson like that had an effect on his decision, but Kyle begged to differ, stating " At first I was kind of offended and confused as to why they weren't offering, but as things went on, I started to understand why Coach Tressel was doing things this way. I knew Coach Tressel wouldn't go back on the deal and that I had a scholarship as long as I qualified. That didn't have an effect on my decision."
As for the reason he felt today was the right day to commit to Wisconsin, Dodson said that he "didn't have time to drags things out because a lot of kids were committing earlier and he didn't want to lose his spot". He said he was pretty sure his decision was final, stating that "when you're committed, you're committed" , but also did go on to say that "it ain't over till it's over".
Dodson did want to keep things as classy as possible and spoke to OSU coach Taver Johnson this evening and also has plans to call Jim Bollman and the rest of the staff tomorrow. He said Johnson had a lot of class and told him that he would always be there for him regardless of his decision to attend Wisconsin.
On the other side of things, Dodson also spoke to his new coach Bret Bielema and played a little trick on him. When Kyle got on the phone with the coach he made it seem like he was committing elsewhere before pulling a 180 and pledging to the Badgers. The news of the commitment invoked a lot of screaming and yelling up north in Madison.
Finally, when asked if the situation had any effect on his decision at all, Dodson said it had some impact, but wasn't a deciding factor. He said he "loved Coach Tressel and thinks he is a great man", but likes Luke Fickell and the new staff a lot, although was uncertain of their future after this year. The instability and uncertainty may have played a minor role, but at the end of the day it seems he was just more comfortable heading up to Wisconsin.
Losing a player of Dodson's magnitude hurts a lot, especially since he is in state, but I must say he was very classy about the whole thing. It may look bad on the surface to get the "offer you have been waiting for" and commit to a rival less than a day later, but it appears after talking to Dodson that he is just making the decision he feels is best for him.
He did have one thing he wanted me to relay to Buckeye fans though:
"I hope you understand I made the decision that was best for me and that one day you can welcome me back with open arms, as it is my dream to play for the Browns. I'm not LeBron!"
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