April 16, 2009
Partridge extends offer at Aquinas
In the class of 2009, the Wisconsin Badgers were able to land two talented defensive prospects from St. Thomas Aquinas, a national powerhouse located in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Aquinas, which won a national champion last season, is loaded with talent and Charlie Partridge has made his presence known after luring both Conor O'Neill and Dezmen Southward away from the Sunshine State.
Partridge, a native of Florida, has ties at Aquinas and already has his eyes on a few 2010 Raider prospects.
Wednesday night, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with one of those prospects, Vinnie Mauro, to discuss his recruitment along with his thoughts about a potential offer from Wisconsin, which ended up coming the following day.
"I was just offered by Wisconsin," Mauro communicated via text message Thursday afternoon. "Conor (O'Neill) just called me and told me that Coach Partridge offered."
Mauro, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker, helped lead Aquinas to a 15-0 record while winning a State 5A championship to go along with their national championship. Before being offered on Thursday, Mauro had a gut feeling Wednesday night that Wisconsin would offer soon.
That said, it didn't take long for that offer to come to fruition.
"Conor, one of my really close friends, is going to Wisconsin and he tells me a lot about the program," Mauro said. "I talk to Coach Partridge a lot and they are talking about offering, I think it could come as soon. Coach Partridge is such a good guy. He's a great guy and it would be nice to have a coach like that.
"I don't know a ton about the program, but I will probably find out a lot more this spring depending on how interested they are in me. I'll most likely be taking a visit this summer. I kind of want to get away. I think I'll be going to school up north."
Though he led Aquinas in tackles as a junior, Mauro admits his combine numbers won't blow you away. His style, however, seems to suit the Big Ten perfectly.
"I'll be honest, I won't light up the clock on my 40-time," he explained. "I like to play tough between the tackles, playing down hill is what I'm good at. My best skill combine-wise would be the shuttle. That's the strength of my game and I'm able to get to the ball carrier quick."
Last week, the Badgers officially offered one of Mauro's teammates, running back James White, as he toured Madison. White, like Mauro, has benefited from going against top competition day-in and day-out during practice.
"Last year was amazing," Mauro said. "It's great playing against talented players everyday in practice. I can't imagine being any better than we were last year, but I think we are going to be. I was a young guy on that team and Conor helped me a lot. I learned how to be a leader from Conor; being in the same huddle as him. He helped me a lot and I've asserted myself as a leader going into next season."
FIU, along with Wisconsin are Mauro's only current offers. Other schools showing interest are Rutgers, Boston College, Navy, Ohio State, Miami, Minnesota, Iowa and Ole Miss.
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