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Badgers' commit J.T. Seagreaves' versatility keys Cheesemakers
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PREP FOOTBALL | ROCK VALLEY

Badgers' commit J.T. Seagreaves' versatility keys Cheesemakers

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MONROE — Versatility, hard work and athleticism already made Monroe multisport athlete J.T. Seagreaves a valuable player for the Cheesemakers in football, boys basketball and track and field.

His strong performance as a defensive end and receiver for undefeated Monroe during the WIAA’s alternate fall season in the spring further piqued the interest of college football recruiters, joining NCAA Division II basketball schools targeting Seagreaves.

But it was when the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Seagreaves demonstrated prowess in the sprints during track season this spring that the attention increased exponentially in football circles.

“That’s when the phone started ringing off the hook football-wise,” said Monroe football coach Toby Golembiewski, mentioning early inquiries from Illinois State, Iowa and Minnesota. “It all just happened so fast and happened so late, as opposed to when it would happen in a regular year.”

Then came a whirlwind several days, which included Seagreaves playing six AAU basketball games in between stops at University of Wisconsin football camps on a Thursday (June 3) and a Monday (June 7), he said. After being offered, he made an oral commitment to UW for football about two weeks later in June.

“After a couple camps, I think they liked what they saw,” said Seagreaves, a senior this school year at Monroe whose given name is John Thomas (thus, J.T.). “I really liked the coaching staff and their values, and I thought I’d really fit in well there.”

Seagreaves, who was the Rock Valley Large defensive player of the year and a first-team all-conference selection as a defensive end and receiver last spring, said he was recruited by the Badgers as a tight end — a position he only has occasionally played for the Cheesemakers.

“I know everybody dreams of playing at that level and having that opportunity,” said Seagreaves, who is interested in studying engineering. “But it really was a shock to me at first. Then, kind of getting to know everybody, I was like, ‘This is where I want to be.’”

This fall playing football in the realigned Rock Valley Conference, he’s expected for the first time to line up at right halfback in the Delaware Wing-T offense Golembiewski uses, while again playing defensive end.

“There are some things that he can do that other kids can’t do, with his height, his speed and his length,” Golembiewski said. “It goes without saying in basketball, track and football and all his activities, he has those things. Some people have that, but they don’t have the other component — the will to win, the will to show up, the sacrifice — the different things that go along with football.

“Football is a work sport. Basketball and baseball, you play more games than you have practices. You have a game three or four nights a week. We practice four nights a week. He is a very gifted and talented person, who’s maybe looking at other sports, but he is choosing the work sport. … I am glad he has made the commitment to football. I am glad he made the commitment to football after high school.”

Seagreaves averaged 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds during the Cheesemakers’ 16-2 basketball season. He said he had hand-held times of 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters and :22.70 in the 200 during the track season. That included victories in the 100 (:11.40) and 200 (:22.70), which helped the Monroe boys win the Badger South Conference meet in June at Madison Edgewood (right after his UW camp visits).

Prior to the events of the summer, Seagreaves said he felt some pressure about making a college decision. But he remained patient.

“I was just trying to sit tight because I knew I would get an opportunity,” said Seagreaves, who had gone back and forth between choosing football or basketball, sports he began in fourth grade.

He then was ranked the No. 2 senior tight end in the state and 11th overall senior football player entering the season by WisSports.net.

“With us being a (WIAA) Division 3-bracketed team, this doesn’t happen that often, that you get a player like this,” Golembiewski said. “We are not playing the (Hartland) Arrowheads, we are not playing the Muskegos. We are not at that high-profile level. And we are not from Texas or Florida, either. The (NCAA) D-I guys don’t make a lot of stops around here and the kids really have to go out of their way to go to exposure camps and things, and overcome a lot of stuff.”

The Cheesemakers graduated lineman Caleb Bunker, fullback Trevor Rodebaugh, halfback Tyler Matley and quarterback Max Golembiewski, the coach’s son, from last spring’s team, which finished 5-0 and fifth-ranked among medium-sized schools in the WisSports.net coaches’ poll.

But Seagreaves said he hopes Monroe, which returns eight defensive starters, can make a deep playoff run.

“We have great hopes for this team,” Toby Golembiewski said.

Seagreaves said he plans to compete in his three sports this school year and not graduate early and leave for UW, which would be more difficult because Monroe is on a trimester system.

His younger brother, James, a sophomore who’s also a tight end and defensive end in the Monroe football program, said it was exciting his brother selected UW and will be closer to home after his first offers were from out-of-state schools. Older sister Bri attends UW, James Seagreaves said.

“I’m trying to enjoy it as it comes and make the best of every situation, whether it’s football season, my last basketball season or my last track season,” J.T. Seagreaves said.

 

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