Colleyville (Texas) Heritage cornerback Jay Valai was heading to Iowa after making a commitment to the Hawkeyes back in mid-December after an official visit to Iowa City. However, the Wisconsin coaches never gave in with their pursuit of the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder.
And in the end it was the Badgers that won out in the battle to land the all-district selection.
"I'm actually on the other line with the Iowa coaches telling them I'm going to Wisconsin," Valai said.
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Valai said one of the biggest reasons why he made the change was the efforts of newly hired defensive back coach Kerry Cooks, who made the move from Minnesota to Wisconsin recently.
Cooks had been heavily recruiting Valai when he was coaching with the Gophers and before he had committed the Hawkeyes.
"He was a huge factor in my decision," Valai said. "Even when I committed to Iowa and told him I wasn't going to Minnesota, he was still there for me to talk to. He's a great guy."
Valai also talked glowingly about new co-defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, who made the move from Kansas to Wisconsin.
"I knew him a little bit because he was talking to me some when he was at Kansas," Valai said. "He didn't really recruit me then, but it was neat to talk to him about his defense at Kansas. He told me about how he coached one of the nation's best defenses.
"He's also a really cool guy. He's very down to earth."
As a senior at Colleyville Heritage, Valai collected 62 tackles and two interceptions, while also returning punts, which he hopes to do in college as well.
In addition to Iowa and Wisconsin, Valai held scholarship offers from Minnesota, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Central Florida.