MADISON, Wis. Dezmen Southward won't soon forget his first day of organized football, if for no other reason than the embarrassing ordeal of properly dressing himself in practice gear.
"I actually put my pads on backwards the first day," Southward said. "I had my knee pads on my thighs. It was pretty bad. I had no idea what to do. I was lost."
This might sound like the kind of story shared by many pre-teen players unaccustomed to the routine of wearing traditional football garb. What makes Southward's story unique is that this scenario didn't originate on a Pee Wee team. It took place during his senior year of high school.
Few players with such limited experience and knowledge of the sport could earn a major Division I scholarship offer in one season, but it speaks to Southward's athleticism and dedication that he defied the odds to reach this point. Southward, now a redshirt junior-to-be in Wisconsin's football program, is expected to be the Badgers' starting free safety in the...