Fort Lauderdale, Fla., cornerback Semar Melvin initially set the date of June 23 to publicly announce where he would play at the college level.
That changed after his official visit to Wisconsin the weekend of June 15–17.
“It was such an exciting feeling and I felt so great to be a Badger and I just had to tell the world, so that really pushed the commitment date up,” Melvin told B5Q on Monday night.
Though he made his commitment public after his trip to UW, Melvin actually told head coach Paul Chryst and defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard on June 16 at Chryst’s house.
“They were excited,” Melvin said. “They were extremely happy that I had made the move, and they told me all the things that I could benefit from making the move both in and out of football, and they told me the plan that they have for me once I get up there.”
Melvin joins 11 other verbal commitments for Wisconsin’s class of 2019, and does so from a highly recognized Florida program in St. Thomas Aquinas that has churned out such Badgers as James White, Conor O’Neill, Dezmen Southward, and current cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams.
Melvin also joins Carriere-Williams, Derrick Tindal, Faion Hicks, and fellow 2019 verbal commit James Williams as South Florida cornerbacks who have or will make their way to Madison to play at the next level.
Hicks hosted Melvin for the official visit, one that the latter described as a “great” trip.
“I loved every second of it,” Melvin said. “It was such a great feeling. As soon as I hopped on land in Madison, everything felt so natural and so welcoming and it felt just like home, so that really played a big factor. Along the visit, they started introducing me to the school more and the facilities and the coaches and the players, and that triggered it even more, so it contributed it a lot to the decision.”
What stood out the most to Melvin was the team itself and the coaching staff, noting he wanted to feel like he was still in Florida.
“The team and coaches will play a big factor because the team is going to be the people I spend most of my time with during college,” Melvin said, “so if we can relate beyond the football level and more of an outside-of-football level, that’s a great feeling always.”
A large group of prep standouts officially visited that weekend of June 15–17, including current verbal commits Julius Davis and Leo Chenal; and uncommitted recruits Melvin, defensive linemen Gio Paez and Etinosa Reuben, linebackers Lance Dixon and Nick Henrich, and lineman Rodas Johnson. Paez eventually declared his verbal commitment to Wisconsin on June 17.
Along with the dinner at Chryst’s home, those taking in Madison also had the experience of taking in a boat ride. Perhaps used to warmer waters near the Atlantic Ocean, Melvin did not take a plunge.
“They jumped out [into] the water. I didn’t jump out, though. It was too cold. I was going to do it at first but I ended up not going,” Melvin said.
Joining Melvin on his official visit were his parents, who enjoyed their time in town and supported his decision to commit.
“They said that they had a very good time, and if I feel right, then I should just go ahead and make the move. But it was my decision mainly,” Melvin said. “No matter where I chose, they would always be there for me, but they were really happy that I chose where I’m at, and they’re just happy to see me move on to the next level in my life after high school.”
In a tweet last week, Melvin noted he was “2000% committed” to Wisconsin, and he told B5Q that there were no plans currently for other visits.
According to Melvin, rated a four-star recruit by Rivals and a three-star by 247Sports and ESPN, the plan for him is to start at an outside cornerback spot with the opportunity to move around the defensive backfield.
“Then later on as I start to progress, move me to nickel, then safety, and stuff like that,” Melvin said, “but we’ll see how things fall out when I get on campus and begin to play football.”