Wisconsin football is putting their finishing touches on a strong class of 2021 and today they landed another important piece to the group as kicker Nate Van Zelst announced his commitment to the Badgers on Tuesday afternoon.
Van Zelst is from Wilmette, Ill. where he attended Loyola Academy. Van Zelst received a few scholarship offers to kick at the college level from the likes of Air Force, Army, Eastern Illinois and Yale. Rather than accept one of those, Van Zelst opted for the walk-on route with the Badgers which was high on his list of schools he was interested in. In his Twitter announcement, Van Zelst stated playing for the Badgers was something he dreamed of his entire life, and now he will get the opportunity to do just that.
According to Kohl’s Kicking Camps, Van Zelst is rated as the No. 35 ranked kicker in their program. In their write up Kohl’s called his kicks “some of the cleanest we’ve seen in the class of 2021”. That right there is exactly what Wisconsin football fans will want to see continue as he works his way onto campus.
With Van Zelst joining the group the Badgers will now have four kickers in the works for next season. Collin Larsh, Jack Van Dyke and Gavin Meyers are all listed on the roster. Larsh took most of the field goal duties in 2019 and 2020. In 2020 Larsh was 5-for-7 on field goals while Van Dyke was 0-for-1.
Overall, Van Zelst will likely be behind the group previously mentioned but he will be under the teaching of Taylor Mehlhaff which will hopefully allow him to develop into a strong kicker for Wisconsin in the future. It has been a position that has struggled since the departure of Rafael Gaglianone and will look to be more stable next fall.