CHICAGO -- There were some new attributes for Wisconsin's player representatives at the 2014 Big Ten media days earlier this week. Warren Herring shed some pounds. Melvin Gordon was sporting a trench-like suit jacket, and Rob Havenstein was auditioning a brand-new haircut. Without hair long enough to tie into a ponytail, Havenstein was noticeably different, "styling" off a George Clooney-like trim.
Different from his teammates, however, was Havenstein's reasoning behind his new appearance.
His mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was in fourth grade. Thankfully, she's a survivor. While Rob didn't pinpoint a specific time in his life when he decided to grow out his hair, it was always in the back of his mind. Yet, the Mount Airy, Maryland, native soon encountered an opportunity not many high school kids find: a Division I recruiting process, including high interest from Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan, Iowa and several other schools. Given that, he understandably sought a more profesional look.
Suitors included former Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, who hosted Havenstein as a freshman on the weekend of Wisconsin's 2009 season opener against Northern Illinois, a game that featured Frederick being the first ever true freshman to start on UW's offensive line.
"It wasn't too wild, kind of just hung out," Havenstein said Tuesday of his recruiting visit. "We just saw the city a little bit, you know, met with a bunch of people, saw people, said hi and asked 3,700 questions about nothing, basically, to just see what is going on in the city. Overall, it was a pretty successful night, because I came [to UW]."
Havenstein eventually committed to the Badgers, and when he arrived on campus, he was ditching the clippers and growing out the locks.
"Once I got [to Madison], I said, 'Screw it, let's grow it out,'" Havenstein said. "Me and Beau [Allen] actually got our last haircuts the same day in October freshman year. He grew it straight out; I trimmed it off so mine is healthy and looks good."
When Havenstein finally cut his hair, he had his mother in mind.
"I donated it to Locks of Love. I've always wanted to do it," Havenstein said. "I've always wanted to grow it out and donate it to do something special for her." -- by Rexford Shield
We'll get to the tight ends before long in our fall camp position previews, but the State Journal's Tom Mulhern has a nice read on Sam Arneson today. More position previews: the Journal Sentinel on the quarterbacks, BadgerBlitz.com on the defensive backs
This is from Wednesday, but still interesting: Wisconsin bought an insurance policy for Melvin Gordon
This, on the other hand, is kinda silly: LSU peeps perhaps trying to stir something up with this whole "did anyone talk about a home-and-home before settling on Houston/Green Bay" for Wisconsin's series with the Tigers. The lede is the juicy, but not really accurate, part:
LSU senior associate athletic director Verge Ausberry said Wednesday a home-and-home series was never part of the discussion with Wisconsin despite comments to the contrary by Badgers' athletic director Barry Alvarez.
To that, I said:
There really isn't any contradiction between UW/LSU here: Alvarez: "They just weren't interested." Ausberry: "It was never home-and-home."— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) July 30, 2014