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Wisconsin football recruiting: DT Olive Sagapolu sold on Madison, family environment

Sagapolu's October visit to Madison was his first time in Wisconsin, but the close bonds in the UW program helped him make the decision to become a Badger.

Student Sports

Like future teammates Austin KafentzisNick Thomas and Sam Madden, it was Santa Ana (Mater Dei), Calif., defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu's first gameday experience in Madison back on Oct. 25 when the Wisconsin Badgers derailed the Maryland Terrapins 52-7.

Unlike those recruits and high school teammate and Wisconsin commit Kyle Penniston, it was actually Sagapolu's first time in the state -- and also this part of the country.

"My whole life, I've lived close to the ocean, so I guess one of the things I found different was that they only had a lake, which I found pretty neat," Sagapolu said.

"I asked some of the players what they do in their spare time, and they said we can do a lot. We can even go swimming, ice fishing, which I've never done, and just a lot of activities that are out there that I've never done before and something I'm really looking forward to do when I'm out there."

Though it was his first time in Madison, the family environment of the Wisconsin coaches and its players sold Sagapolu, as the 6'3, 295-pound defensive tackle committed to the Badgers in late October.

For Sagapolu, having that close atmosphere is something he's been around his entire life. He developed an instant bond with defensive lineman Elu Aydon -- who also committed to Wisconsin that same week -- considering their Samoan heritage. He also formed a connection with Madden, who reminds him of his teammates at Mater Dei that he holds in high regards.

"As soon as I got there, I felt welcomed by the coaching staff, by the recruiting players that I met," Sagapolu said. "I could already tell one of my good friends is probably going to be Sam and Elu -- those will probably be the guys that I'll be hanging out with during my four years."

Sagapolu first started hearing from Wisconsin after Badgers defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a watched practice and "liked the way I moved," according to the three-star recruit. He'll primarily get looks at nose guard within defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's 3-4 defense, though he stated there may be opportunities to move outside as an end due to his athletic ability.

Penniston believes there are big things in store for Sagapolu, who was one of four players to declare intentions to play for Wisconsin within a three-day span after the Maryland game.

"He's a very down-to-earth kid," Penniston said earlier this month. "Really passionate about football, which is something I love, and I think he's going to be a great player. I think he really fits in that scheme, and I'm excited because I get to spend four more years with him, and I think he's going to do special things in Madison."

The nation's No. 40 2015 defensive tackle according to Scout,com is excited about heading to Madison to play football at the next level in collegiate football, but one question remains.

Is he ready for the Wisconsin winter?

"Ah, man," Sagapolu said, "it's probably going to be very hard to adjust to the climate, but it's something I'm willing to do to get my education and work hard at football and try to work my way to the league."