3-Star Travian Blaylock discusses his commitment to Wisconsin
If ever there was a cornerback built for Wisconsin football, Travian Blaylock certainly fits the mold.
The physical corner from Humble, Texas, announced his commitment to the Badgers on Thursday night, ending a recruitment that ultimately came down to a choice between Wisconsin or Stanford. Blaylock was in Madison in early June and said that visit ended up being much more crucial to his decision than even he was planning on it being.
“I really wasn’t expecting much, just going up there for the visit, but I knew Wisconsin had a really good engineering program - which is what I want to do,” he said. “But being up there with the atmosphere and the coaches and seeing everything they were about won me over. Stanford had that too, but it was all about feel and I did a lot of praying about it and that was big.”
A big part of that feel came down with the relationship that he built with the Wisconsin staff. While the Badgers have been active recruiters in Texas, much of their recent success in the state has come on the offensive side of the ball.
Although Blaylock is very clearly a defensive prospect, Wisconsin’s offensive coaches played a key role in getting him invested in the program.
“Coach (Ted) Gilmore has been really dedicated to me since the beginning,” he said. “He’s the recruiting director for my area and has been really involved. He talks to my dad, he talks to me, but he cares about me as a person too and that was big. He told me to make the best decision for me and doesn’t like pushing just Wisconsin.
“Coach (Jim) Leonhard is just a cool dude. He cares a lot about me too, and he played against my dad in the NFL a little bit; he was on the (Buffalo) Bills and my dad [Derrick Blaylock] was on the (New York) Jets, so they had that connection when we were up there and my dad likes him. I feel like he has knowledge that can enhance my play and help me be the best person that I can be.”
Blaylock flourished last season at Atascocita High School just outside of Houston, and established himself as a hard-nosed defender on the perimeter. Earlier this spring at the Rivals Three Stripe Camps presented by adidas he was a top defensive performer. Even though he might be more commonly associated with his work at the line of scrimmage - both jamming receivers and helping in run defense - he’s a very capable defender in pass coverage as well.
Blaylock knows the reputation of that the Big Ten has as a traditionally run-oriented conference, but he’s still looking forward to getting the chance to pluck a pass or two out of the air given the opportunity.
“I was thinking about that, but then I was like, that doesn’t even matter. You’re going to get picks wherever you go,” he said. “They’re going to throw the ball. There’s not conference in college football that throws the ball 100-percent. You’re going to get looks, you’re going to get picks.”
Blaylock said that after picking up the offers from Wisconsin and Stanford that he sensed a few other schools might have added him to their board, but after his announcement, that’s a moot point. Specifically, California and Illinois had started to show more interest in him, but Blaylock said that even the Cardinal is out of the picture going forward.
“I messaged [Stanford Defensive Backs Coach, Duane] Akina and thanked him for the opportunity and mentoring me at the camps I had been to,” he said. “But I’m going to Wisconsin and there’s no doubt about that. A lot of people commit, go on and decommit, but that’s not me, not my character and I stick to my word. That’s why I took so long with this decision, to make sure it was really the right one.
“This is where I’m going to school,” he added. “I thought long and hard about it. I prayed long and hard about it, and you’ll see me in Wisconsin in 2018.”