On a Sunday evening in mid-January, Green Bay, Wis. (Bay Port) quarterback Alec Ingold accomplished a goal of his in his recruitment process -- he received an offer to play for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Elated, the then-Northern Illinois commit had a major decision to make. Ingold committed to the Huskies in June as a quarterback, and was named Wisconsin Associated Press high school player of the year at that position -- completing over 61 percent of his passes for 1,384 yards and 16 touchdowns. When new Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst and his staff offered as a linebacker, there was a flood of emotion but the in-state product wanted to make sure he was making the best decision for his career.
Ultimately, Ingold chose to flip his commitment to Wisconsin, though the phone call to the Northern Illinois staff was a difficult one to make.
"It was the hardest conversation I've ever had to have," Ingold said last Thursday.
"They're the people that gave me the opportunity first, and kind of the guys who kind of trusted me right away. They understood, and they said they'd support me and all that, but I mean it was hard to make those phone calls, for sure."
He de-committed from NIU on Jan. 20 after making his final decision on the Monday night before. All this in a two-day span after Wisconsin offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph called Ingold with UW's offer on that Sunday evening.
The interest generated by the Badgers' coaching staff was a departure from the regime of former head coach Gary Andersen, whose staff did not make the 6'2, 220-pound Ingold a priority. The three-star recruit by Scout.com also had offers from Pittsburgh, Central Michigan, Air Force and North Dakota State.
After committing to Wisconsin on Jan. 20, Ingold took his official visit to Madison on the 23rd. His time at the university included academic meetings as well as with coaches and players. One of those conversations was with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Though many recruiting services have placed him as an outside linebacker, Ingold said Aranda wants him to play the "rover" inside linebacker position -- the same position former Badger Derek Landisch played the past two seasons, and who exploded his senior year with 84 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and nine sacks.
Official visitors at Wisconsin this weekend from left to right Kraig Howe, Alec Ingold, Josh Thomas, Arrington Farrar pic.twitter.com/mBEzS2BaEi— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) January 25, 2015
Aside from a great prep football career where he was the Gatorade state player of the year, Ingold also is an accomplished wrestler. As of Sunday, Ingold was 28-0 on the year in the 220-pound weight class. Though the physical training of wrestling has helped shape him, Ingold believes the mentality of the sport will help him at the collegiate level.
"I think the biggest thing with wrestling that it helps me out with is the mental toughness," Ingold said.
"You can't get much better mental toughness than going through a wrestling practice or two and just getting that grind over it -- with the two-and-a-half hour practices where you want to quit the whole time, and you just gotta push through with your teammates and yourself. It's definitely the mental toughness I think is what's going to help me out in the long run the most."
Credit: Chris Ingold
A relatively new commit to Wisconsin, Ingold initially joined fellow in-state recruits Jon Dietzen, David Pfaff and Zack Baun. He spoke with Baun at the WFCA banquet, and has forged a friendship with Dietzen since their time training at the House of Speed in Green Bay. New commit Jake Whalen recently tweeted he and Ingold would room together.
Now a part of the Wisconsin class of 2015, Ingold sees the potential of this class and the type of players coming into the program.
"There's definitely a bond, and you can tell Wisconsin's really focused on recruiting good guys."