Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Grayshirt changes colors, commits to red

As UW football head coach Bret Bielema sat discussing his most recent recruiting class with the assembled press Wednesday, a question came up as to why the coach thought more switching out of commitments was being done by recruits nowadays.

Bielema's answer was that he thought some students were making decisions earlier in their high school careers about future college plans — possibly even too early for their own good. Bielema explained this led to second thoughts on behalf of the athletes and eventually a change of decision.

Wisconsin's newly signed defensive back, Quincy Landingham, is guilty of making an early decision. Unlike some, he stuck by his — at least part of it.


"As soon as I knew I could play Division I football, that's when I knew I was going to leave early," Landingham said of his decision to graduate high school and enroll early at the college of his choice. At first, that college was Michigan State, where Landingham verbally committed. But after John L. Smith was fired as the Spartans' head coach, Landingham reopened his search for a college and eventually decided on Wisconsin.

"[My] sophomore year I knew, wherever I was going to go, I was going to go early."

At just 15 years old, Landingham had already decided to finish high school one semester before all his friends. But for Landingham, the decision was easy — he will still be able to participate in his class' graduation ceremony and his own senior prom while getting a head start on college.

"My best friend, … he was talking about, 'Why you leaving, man?' but now that I'm going, he's like, 'I wish I would have left, too,'" Landingham said.

Grayshirts — athletes who enroll in classes early — are allowed to participate in spring and summer practices without losing any eligibility. Wisconsin's coaching staff said the benefits of doing so could be tremendous.

"Quincy is going to help us right away," defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said. "He is going to be so far ahead of the game plan by having a semester and a spring."

Especially at a time when UW is lacking depth at the safety position, Landingham's arrival on campus is crucial.

"With losing four safeties, it is very beneficial to have a guy like him on campus right now to help replace those guys," Cooks added.

To put himself in position to graduate high school early, Landingham had to cut out some of the fun elective classes.

"I figured, 'Sophomore year, don't take any electives, like a lot of kids do, just take academics. Junior year, take two English's,'" Landingham explained.

This approach allowed Landingham to easily graduate early. The only decision then was who to play for.

Landingham had no shortage of offers — he started receiving official interest the very first day allowable, although UW did not make its offer until May — but eventually the decision came down to Wisconsin and Georgia Tech.

From the end result, UW won out.

"I feel like if they are graduating players, somebody needs to come play," Landingham said in reference to the departure of safeties Joe Stellmacher and Roderick Rogers.

Aside from acclimating himself to the demands of college classes and football, Landingham has been rounding out his young collegiate life.

"I've been hanging out with a lot of guys form the team, a lot of guys from my floor, just seeing what Madison is all about," Landingham said.

He has also been able to get his hands on the hottest ticket in town — UW Basketball — and experience the Badger game day atmosphere with future teammate and Middleton resident Nick Toon.

"The fans are crazy, they love any kind of sport here, and I love that," Landingham said.

The high school honor roll student intends on majoring in either journalism and mass communications or communication arts. Landingham has a historical perspective, which would favor a concentration in history.

"This season was a factor (in selecting UW) but the whole history of the '90s they've had a solid, successful program. … When you see they've been to three or four Rose Bowls in the past 10 years you know that's a competitive program."

So then, given that historical line of thinking: Troy Vincent, Jamar Fletcher, Scott Starks, Jim Leonhard. … Quincy Landingham hopes to put his name among UW's great defensive backs.

"There's a great DB tradition here and I want be the one to continue that," he said.

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