Wisconsin football recruiting: Homestead DL David Pfaff excited to be a Badger

Barbara Pfaff

Wisconsin's sixth commitment for the 2015 class didn't waste much time in joining Jon Dietzen and David Moorman as future Badgers who gave their verbals in May.

The month of May was a busy month for Wisconsin, as head coach Gary Andersen secured commits from offensive linemen Jon Dietzen and David Moorman in the beginning of the month.

The first five commitments for Wisconsin's 2015 recruiting class were on the offensive side of the ball, but in late May, Mequon Homestead junior defensive linemen David Pfaff jumped on Andersen's offer as the first defensive player to become a Badger.

The offer came suddenly, as Homestead head coach Dave Keel instructed Pfaff to call one of the Wisconsin coaches, then to call Andersen himself. Pfaff said he spoke with Andersen as he extended the offer. Andersen wanted Pfaff to commit soon so they could move on with the process.

After consulting with his support system -- his family and his coaches -- Pfaff gave his verbal commitment to the Wisconsin program.

"It wasn’t really a hard decision. I committed, and I’m very excited." -David Pfaff

"It wasn’t really a hard decision," Pfaff said. "I committed, and I’m very excited."

Pfaff, a three-star prospect by Scout.com and 247 Sports, received offers from FBS schools like Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Northern Illinois and Iowa State before making his decision May 20.

His mother, Barbara, was very excited to have her son commit to playing for the Badgers, though she never put any pressure on her son to stay in-state. Whereever her son ultimately felt best to pursue his football and collegiate career, she would support him.

"Well, I had said to him early in this recruiting process, when he got his first offer from Kalamazoo [Western Michigan]," Barbara said, "I said to him, ‘You know what? Whatever you want to do, David, this is your decision. I will be with you every step of the way, and if you want my input, I’m here for you.'"

Pfaff finished his 2013 season with 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and six sacks, along with adding first-team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association to his resume. Among the many match-ups Pfaff faced as a junior was Hartland Arrowhead and 2014 Wisconsin commit George Panos. Homestead won, 13-7.

Going against one of Wisconsin's best high school linemen and holding his own was a confidence boost for Pfaff.

"It was great," he said. "It made me kind of gauge myself, where I was -- if I could go up against a Division I, Big Ten guy -- and I think I did."

Pfaff credits the Homestead coaching staff for his maturation, in particular Keel and defensive line coach Tom Fugate. Homestead's known for producing impressive defensive linemen, including Stanford's Ben Gardner and Illinois State's Shelby Harris, both drafted late in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6'5, 255-pound linemen praised Fugate for helping him develop into an all-state lineman.

"He’s taught me almost everything I know," Pfaff said. "I always look to coach Fugate for a little support when I just wanted his input because I respect the man so much."

Some of those skills were shown in May during the Rivals Camp Series in Chicago. Pfaff wasn't 100 percent, though, as he fought off the flu bug while trying to showcase this motor against the best in the region. He competed in drills against Dietzen, considered by many as Wisconsin's No. 1 high school football player. Coming out of that camp, he realized he wanted to continue to work on his hands and trusting the moves taught to him by the instructors against his opponents, along with working on his footwork.

Pfaff soon became just the second in-state football player offered by Wisconsin, and BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull noted the wave of momentum going Pfaff's way.

"He picked up some good power conference offers, and for him to get that offer, he dreamed for years to be a Wisconsin football player," Worgull said on the Kielbasa Kings Sports Extravaganza on Sunday.

"He describes himself as ‘quick as hell, and crazy as hell,' and when you have a guy who plays that defensive end position, and has that motif, he’s a perfect fit for what [Wisconsin defensive coordinator] Dave Aranda wants this 3-4 defense to become, so it was just a natural fit."

Pfaff noted he's not sure exactly where on the defensive line. He believes he will play as an end in Aranda's scheme, but could also gain weight to play as a nose guard. Regardless of technique and position in the trenches, Pfaff thinks he can play with the speed, quickness and relentlessness that will set him a part from the pack in his time at Wisconsin.

"I think I’ve got something unique that the other guys don’t have," Pfaff said, "and that’s why they threw this offer out to me."

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