It was during a summer visit that Mesa, Ariz. (Desert Ridge) long snapper Adam Bay fell in love with the University of Wisconsin and its football program, coaches and facilities.
The only problem? A scholarship opportunity to play for the Badgers wasn’t on the table, at least at that moment, which initially made him verbally commit to an SEC program.
“Just an offer wasn’t available at the time,” Bay said earlier this week in Orlando, “so I took Missouri, and I loved Missouri, but just Wisconsin was where my heart was.”
But that wouldn’t be the end of the courtship between Bay, a 6’1, 220-pound, five-star long-snapping prospect by Kohl’s Professional Camps, and the UW coaching staff.
“Wisconsin came knocking again, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Bay said. “It’s just a better fit for me as a person and academically.”
Bay flipped his commitment to the Badgers in late October, but before heading to Madison, he will compete in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando on Sunday (ESPN, 1 p.m. EST).
According to Bay, he won a long-snapping portion of a camp that garnered him the automatic bid into the All-American game. Rated the No. 1 long snapper by Kohl’s, he is one of two snappers on the teams’ rosters.
Since 2008, the Under Armour All-America Game, has gathered together some of the nation’s top high school football players as selected by ESPN Recruiting. Current NFL players like wide receivers Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry and A.J. Green, along with defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, have participated in the game, now approaching its 10th anniversary.
“It means the world to me,” Bay said. “It’s been a goal since my eighth-grade year, I believe, and something I’ve been really working forward to. All the Kohl’s kicking camps, trying to earn a spot, and it’s something I’m cherishing right now. It’s something I really worked hard for.”
Wisconsin’s current long-snapper, Connor Udelhoven, exhausts his eligibility after the Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 2. That leaves tight end/defensive lineman Zander Neuville alone on the depth chart currently with any experience in that position group, as California native Jake Cesear left the program earlier this season.
That appears to give Bay an opportunity to come in and start from the beginning of his college career. The two-star commit by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout will need to acclimate to the preferences of punters Anthony Lotti and P.J. Rosowski, along with holder Connor Allen for field goals and extra points.
“Not really,” Bay said when asked if it is difficult to adjust to different punters and holders. “Just wherever they want it on the hip, I’ll put it there, if they need it no matter where. That’s my strong suit. That’s what I pride myself on.”
Bay appears to have enjoyed his time in Florida this week and will lace up the cleats and don the shoulder pads yet again on Sunday, but he’s already looking at what to improve upon when he arrives on campus to play for the Badgers next season.
“For me, I need to work on my blocking for when I get to Wisconsin, making sure I can take on everybody that I can,” Bay said.
“No bad snaps, obviously—consistency, that’s all there is for me.”
SB Nation Recruiting’s Bud Elliott contributed to this report.