IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kristian Welch fits the description of a typical Iowa football recruit.
He is mostly unheralded as a recruit despite being a multi-sport star in high school in Wisconsin.
He is also determined to prove his doubters wrong, a chip that many Iowa recruits bring with them to college after being ignored in high school. That is especially true with regard to the home-state Badgers, who have mostly ignored Welch during the recruiting process.
“Absolutely. It definitely puts a chip on my shoulder,” said Welch, who announced his commitment to Iowa on Twitter early Monday evening.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Welch is the 21st player to commit to Iowa’s 2016 recruiting class and the third from Wisconsin. He joins quarterback Nathan Stanley from Menomonie and running back Toren Young from Monona Grove in Iowa’s 2016 class.
Welch has played running back throughout high school, but the Iowa coaches project him as either a tight end or linebacker in college.
“I’ve always tried to be an offensive player,” Welch said. “I’ve pretty much played running back my whole life. I can move good in space, so (the Iowa coaches) kind of pointed me in that direction.”
Welch doesn’t understand why Wisconsin has paid so little attention to him as a recruit.
“That’s just the way it goes, I guess,” Welch said. “I kind of shake my head and turn away.”
For Welch, the chip became bigger after his close friend and fellow Wisconsin native Tyler Biadasz, a 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle from Amherst, Wis., received a Wisconsin offer shortly after attending a camp with the Badgers this summer. Biadasz committed to Wisconsin shortly after receiving the offer.
Welch also attended the same camp, but didn’t get an offer from Wisconsin.
“I’ve been close to him and then seeing him get the (Wisconsin) offer and, obviously, not getting one has kind of put a chip on my shoulder,” Welch said.
Welch isn’t sure how he would respond if the Badgers, who are now coached by Paul Chryst, offered him a scholarship. Chryst was the head coach at Pittsburgh before being hired at Wisconsin in December.
“I would have a lot to think about, obviously,” Welch said. “There is a lot that can between now (and signing day). I’d have to think about it. But I’m committed to Iowa and I’m not going to say that I’m going to change or anything.”
In addition to his football prowess, Welch also plays basketball and competes in track and field for his high school. He is a state champion in the long jump with a personal best leap of 22 feet, 10 inches. He is also a standout sprinter in track and has been clocked at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
“I’m pretty good at track,” Welch said. “I’ve gotten a couple (letters) from Illinois State and a lot of smaller schools that are interested in me for track. But obviously, that’s not going to work out.”
Welch doesn’t put much stock in the star system that is used to rank high school football recruits. He is ranked as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. However, a two-star recruit often becomes a three-star after committing to a power five school.
Welch said the Iowa coaches, including recruiting coordinator Seth Wallace, also pay little attention to the star system.
“I definitely think just because of where I’m from, I obviously didn’t get a Wisconsin offer, so I don’t know if that really means anything,” Welch said. “And then coach (Wallace) was talking to me and he said a lot of players just go to the camps and they develop their combine style points or whatever and they get four stars and they get 25 offers just because of that.
“And he said that’s not the way we operate. He said we’re going to get you on campus and we’re going to see what you can do and then we’ll offer you then.”
Welch committed to Iowa during an unofficial visit to Iowa City on Monday.
Veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming ranks Welch among the top 10 players in the 2016 class in Wisconsin. Lemming also believes that Wisconsin ultimately would’ve offered Welch a scholarship.
The Badgers still could offer Welch because his commitment to Iowa won’t become official until Welch signs a national letter of intent in February.
“He is definitely a top-10 player in Wisconsin, probably in the top six or seven,” Lemming said. “He’s a good athlete; good hands, a good two-way player, too. So it’s a good catch for them."