Boese proves he’s big enough for Badgers

· Sep 20, 2001 Tweet

When UW strong safety Joey Boese played high school football, he was told that he was too small to ever play football in college. Two Rose Bowls and one Sun Bowl later, Boese is now enjoying the last laugh as one of the premier leaders on the Badger defense.

The California native first started playing football as a freshman at Mater Dei high school, one of the top football schools on the west coast. At the time he had no idea of the opportunities football would bring his way.

“Playing football in college was never really a thought in my mind until I started getting letters from recruiters after my junior year,” Boese said. “It was then that I realized that I was going to get a shot at playing football in college.”

At wide receiver and cornerback in high school, Boese was named a top 10 prospect on the west coast by PrepStar, a Blue Chip regional All-American and MVP in his senior year. With all the success he had at Mater Dei, he was still told that his 5’11,” 170 lb build was too small to ever play at a big time university.

“My whole life I have been told I am too small to be playing football,” Boese said. “It’s a great feeling to prove people wrong. I get phone calls all the time from home with people saying that they saw me on TV.”

The senior played his first two seasons as a backup cornerback before lining up at strong safety in 2000, a year in which he not only started every game but had a career-best 58 tackles.

Not only has playing for UW given Boese national exposure for football; he has also taken full advantage of a top-notch college education.

“Football has opened so many doors for me,” Boese explains. “Football hasn’t just given me exposure but has also given me the chance to get a degree from a great university.”

Academics have always been Boese’s priority, dating back to his football days at Mater Dei. Always a member of the honor roll, the communication arts major has earned academic all-Big-Ten praise for two straight seasons.

“A degree is the most important thing to me right now,” Boese said. “Getting a degree and preparing to enter the real world is what football has allowed me to do.”

As Boese’s final season as a Badger resumes this Saturday at Penn State, he continues to be supported by his father Leo, who has traveled 112,000 miles to see Joey play. The only game that Leo has ever missed was a 1998 meeting in Bloomington, a day in which he was obligated to attend a pancake breakfast for his daughter.

“I have had some great days playing football here,” Boese recalls. “While I know I can’t play football forever, I hope to end my senior year on a successful note.”

Boese’s experience, having either played or practiced at every position in the secondary during his career, will be needed to help lead a young and raw defense into a tough Big Ten schedule, which begins this weekend against the Nittany Lions.


This article was published Sep 20, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 20, 2001 at 12:00 am


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