While still trying to recover from a huge disappointment, Jacob Maxwell received some of the best news of his life.
On the morning of Nov. 22, his Greendale football team had its dream of a WIAA Division 3 state championship shattered when the Panthers lost a 17-0 lead and fell to Monona Grove 21-17 in the title contest.
That night, he received a phone call.
It came from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Maxwell was offered a full scholarship to play football for the Badgers next season.
"That certainly made things easier," said the 6-foot-6, 285-pound left offensive tackle. "I could cope with things better after that. That state game was really rough."
Maxwell visited the UW campus the next week, on Nov. 27, then officially committed to the Badgers that evening.
Signed this week
He signed his national letter of intent Wednesday of this week at The Panther Pub in the village of Greendale, becoming the first Panther to receive a full-ride scholarship to Madison.
"That means a lot to me," Maxwell said. "It is a great accomplishment to represent the school the way I am able to. It makes me proud."
Besides the honor of playing for his home state, another factor in Maxwell's decision was the Badgers' strong offensive line tradition.
"That was the thing that made me choose UW," he said. "In the past 10 to 15 years, the Badgers have sent more linemen to the NFL than any school in the country."
He said that success is mostly because of the coaching, but added, "The Badgers recruit Wisconsin kids, and Wisconsin breeds some big kids."
Maxwell had originally committed to Northern Illinois in June, 2013, before UW entered the picture.
"When Wisconsin made the offer, I went for it," he continued. "I knew they (the Badgers) must think well of me to give me a full ride."
He also had been recruited by Akron, Ball State, Brigham Young and Central Michigan.
Maxwell received first-team all-state, all-region and all-area honors, as well as being included on the NOW Newspapers All-Suburban team. He was named the lineman of the year in the Woodland Conference and was the runnerup for the state's Joe Thomas Award.
He played defense at nose guard, coming up with four sacks and 30 tackles, and was the team's most valuable player.
Maxwell, an honor roll student for all four years, plans to major in the medical field. He also hopes to coach football at the collegiate level.
Other players from the 13-1 Panthers also signed this week, including wide receiver/free safety Mitchell Brees (Illinois State), defensive back Gabe Kaliebe (Wisconsin Lutheran College) and offensive lineman Riley Fragosso and running back Jake Zywicki (both UW-Oshkosh).
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