Kadow will play football at Rutgers

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MTT News's picture
Dennis Semrau/Special to the Times-Tribune
Middleton senior-to-be Carter Kadow recently accepted an NCAA Division 1 football scholarship to Rutgers University./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Life is full of surprises.

Just ask Middleton’s Carter Kadow, who grew up with his sights set on playing college basketball.

Kadow, a 6-foot-7, 260-pound senior, recently accepted an NCAA Division I football scholarship to Rutgers University.

It has been a rollercoaster ride for Kadow, who suffered an ACL injury his sophomore year, then played tight end last year before making the switch to the offensive line this spring.

“I used to think basketball was what I was going to do because I played AAU basketball while I was growing up,” Kadow said. “I really thought basketball was my route.”

Kadow took an official visit to Indiana and received an offer from the Hoosiers on June 17. He then committed to Rutgers on June 25 after attending the Scarlet Knights’ Big Man Academy camp in Piscataway, N.J.

“At first, it was between Indiana and Western Michigan,” said Kadow, who said his first scholarship offer was from South Dakota State. “I was really interested in Rutgers, but I was not offered at that point and didn’t know if they were going to proceed. A lot of teams, like Big 10 teams, wanted to wait to see my first few games. They wanted to wait and see a little bit.

“But I was able to make it to camp, which helped Rutgers’ decision immensely. Then it became between Rutgers, Indiana, and Western Michigan. Ultimately it was Rutgers. The first camp we went to, we saw some of the facilities and the coaches and had an awesome time. But the second time, (Carter and his father, Jason) really got to see the academic side and everything, and I think it sold itself.”

Kadow said his second camp at Rutgers had him convinced that is where he wanted to go.

“I was pretty sure if they made an offer, I was going to Rutgers just because of everything they had shown me so far,” he said. “I got the offer from coach (Greg) Schiano in his office. I saw him at the first camp and we talked a little bit.

“The second time, we sat down with him on Friday for two hours. We really talked about everything. The next day we had the Big Man camp. The following day, we were in his office and had another hour-long conversation and that’s when he offered. I was able to sit down and talk with him and hear his values and his vision for the team.”

Kadow is the 115th-ranked offensive tackle nationally and the 14th-ranked player in Wisconsin in the class of 2024 by the 247Sports composite rankings. He will join Middleton linebacker Sam Pilof, who committed to Rutgers in April.

“I’m happy for Sam, but it didn’t factor into my situation because nothing’s permanent,” Kadow said. “It is a factor, but a small one because you don’t know what will happen with the transfer portal and everything. If he leaves, I’m stuck at the school if I picked it solely on him going there. That wouldn’t be a smart decision.”


Fortuitous position change

Kadow said Rutgers started recruiting him about eight months ago, when he was making his varsity debut as a tight end.

“After my ACL injury, I didn’t have any recruitment options,” he said. “But with my size and potential, (former) coach (Jason) Pertzborn started reaching out to colleges for me. It was tough because I couldn’t go to camps last summer. When I went on all my game day visits, I went in as a tight end. I thought that’s where I was going to be. But they all saw my frame and projected O-line.

“After the season, I got in touch with one of the coaches at Rutgers (linebacker coach Corey Hetherman) and he started talking to me a little bit. He came to the school a few times in the spring. After I went to a camp there on May 30, they talked to me a lot as an offensive lineman.

“Most recently, Coach Andrew Aurich, the tight ends coach and the area recruiter, worked with me. Once I came to camp, all of the other coaches started talking to me and building connections.”

That included offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and assistant line coach Scott Vallone, who worked with Kadow at the one-day camp on May 30 and the Big Man Academy camp.

Kadow said he realized during the offseason that his future would be on the offensive line.

“I made the switch about two weeks before the camp season, in the middle of May,” said Kadow, who is slated to play right tackle for Middleton this fall. “That was a big switch. I knew I was going to move to the offensive line at some point in my career. I just didn’t know when. I made it easier on myself by making the switch earlier.”

Kadow said former Middleton defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach Brad Rogeberg planted the early seeds of a position switch.

“He’s been amazing helping me through the whole process. He has played a huge role in everything I’ve done football-wise,” Kadow said of Rogeberg. “He was the guy you could always go and talk to. He built that kind of connection with his students and players. He has told me since freshman year that I could be a Division I tackle.”

Kadow said he entered his junior season at 215 pounds and was around 220 at the end of the season. But after spending the winter playing basketball and working out in the weight room, he added 40 pounds of muscle.

“They think I could be around 300,” he said. “I will definitely put on more weight in college.”

Rogeberg agreed.


“He has a great frame to add productive muscle mass.  Even now he looks like he weighs 220 pounds, but he is actually 260,” Rogeberg said. “He will be an athletic tackle at the next level. I knew once college coaches saw his frame they would fall in love with him. He has a great work ethic and wants to get better.”


Work in progress

Kadow has been spending plenty of time preparing to adapt to his new position.

“I have been training with former University of Wisconsin football guard Kyle Costigan, who has been a big help,” Kadow said. “He has been helping me out a ton on playing on the offensive line. He really helped me through the recruiting process and what to look for. He has really helped me piece through everything and switch my game.

“My current coaches do all they can but they can only have so much contact and skill work with you out of the season. That makes it hard to talk with them the whole time. But it’s nice to work on offensive line skills and doing workouts and being able to connect with someone who knows what’s going on and has been through the situation himself.”

Kadow realizes there is much to learn about the position

“Making the switch, I really had to work on my balance,” Kadow said. “I’m still learning new skills every day. I know I have a long way to go and am nowhere near where I will project to be.

“The biggest thing is changing my body type, my body size. It’s been a big thing I’ve been working on along with feet quickness. Basketball has helped that. But there is a lot more technical stuff than at tight end. At tackle, you really have to look at what the defense is doing rather than what you’re doing. You have to work off the defense.”

Kadow said working on keeping his hips lower to create the most amount of power and explosiveness has been a point of emphasis. But he added that working on his balance and not shifting weight too much is also important.

“Pass blocking is very new,” he said. “So staying balanced is important by keeping my arms and legs moving freely and on different axis. Trying to keep everything in control rather than out of control.”

Kadow said Middleton has used two of its five summer contact days, which has given him time to work with offensive line coaches Joe Poehl and Ryan Groy.

“Having them work together is really nice,” he said. “They’ve been helpful giving me stuff to work on and how and why we do it.”


Future plans

Kadow said he is planning to study business, in the medical or data analysis field.

That also made Rutgers an attractive choice for college, especially when it came to earning internships and making future employment connections in nearby New York City.

“The campus is about a 25-minute trail ride,” he said. “The train goes right through the middle of the campus in the city. It’s really quick. That was a big thing because in the business world, there are a lot of internships. Some of the other places, I had good internship opportunities.

“But being on a 50-minute train ride to Philly, a 25-minute train ride to New York City, just all of those major cities, you can do an internship fairly easily. I talked to one of the team’s academic advisors, and he said they have multiple people who do internships in New York on days they don’t have football, which is a big thing to get into the workforce.”

Kadow said his second visit to Piscataway convinced him that Rutgers was the right place for him.

“On Friday night, when we went back to the hotel after the visit, I really felt it was a place where I could call home. I like a bigger city. It didn’t feel like a suburban area, but a place where there are a lot of things going on. It all felt like a true college campus weaved into a city. I really liked that aspect of it.”


Important decision

While one important decision — where he will be attending college — is off his plate, another equally important decision still awaits.

While on the recruiting trail, Kadow said he was encouraged by a number of college coaches to graduate early so he could acclimate to campus life and participate in off-season workouts and spring ball.

“I was able to talk to a lot of the players, especially the O-linemen and get their perspective on everything,” Kadow said. “I was talking a lot to them about going early, too, because that’s a question I have to figure out.”

Kadow said an early graduation would end his basketball career, where he played a key reserve role on the Cardinals’ Big Eight Conference championship team last year.

“He was a huge contributor off the bench for us last year,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “This year, we expect big things out of him. He’s gotten pressure from the D1’s to graduate early. He wants to have his senior year experience, but he will have to make that decision.”

Kadow said he understands the benefits of an early high school graduation.

“If you have some experience with spring ball and get a little bigger size and have five months to do it and get used to college a little bit, you could really have a potential chance to play at least four games and still redshirt your freshman year,” he said.

So Kadow is taking time to step back and assess his options.

“I’m taking a break for a few days and thinking about it and talking to my family,” he said. “I have to talk with one of our school counselors to see if it’s a possibility. I know Sam Pilof is doing it.

“I have to see if it’s a good fit for me and what I would have to do to graduate early. I plan to make a decision soon after I talk with my coaches and my family and see if I’m able to make those graduation requirements. Then it comes down to do I want to continue high school or do I start college early?”



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