January 26, 2009
Southward headed North
Less than one after Charlie Partridge learned one of his Florida prospects had decommitted in favor of Boston College, Wisconsin's defensive line coach added another Sunshine State athlete to UW's 2009 recruiting class with a verbal from two-star safety Dezmen Southward.
A 6-foot-1, 200-pound standout from Fort Lauderdale (Fla) St. Thomas Aquinas, Southward gave his pledge to Partridge, his primary recruiting coach, after his official visit to Madison this past weekend.
A teammate of current Badger verbal Conor O'Neill, Southward has just one year of playing experience under his belt, though his athletic abilities are undeniable.
"Honestly, he's just a freak athlete," O'Neill told BadgerBlitz.com. "He's a great person and a great teammate. Once I knew that I wanted to play for Wisconsin, I was trying to get as many kids from our team to take a look at Wisconsin, and Dezmen was the first one I thought of. If you've ever seen him play, he's something special. This only being the first year playing football, I made sure to tell Coach Partridge and Coach (Bret) Bielema to give him an offer because he's going to be something special in a few years.
"We all knew about his freakish ability. He ran a 4.3 (40-yard dash) at Florida and he's got a 40-plus vertical. He's got a big body so our coach just asked him to come out and it turned out to be a great decision. Luckily he came out this year."
A member of Aquinas' 2008 state championship team, Southward is the 19th known commitment in Wisconsin's current recruiting class.
Southward choose UW over offers from UConn and Syracuse, along with late interest from Tennessee.
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