Freshman WR Robert Wheelwright came to Wisconsin this fall with quite the football pedigree. His older brother, Ernie, starred as a receiver for Minnesota from 2004-07 and his grandfather, also named Ernie, was a running back in the 1960s for the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Having grown up around football, Wheelwright is well-suited for his trial by fire at receiver as a true freshman in the Badgers' lineup, which will continue this Saturday in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, against No. 4 Ohio State.
What's it going to be like to be able to go home and play in Columbus?
"It's going to be a great experience, especially to be able to do it with a different team, with a different program, and be able to go back and try to beat my hometown team."
After growing up in Ohio, what made you decide to come to Wisconsin?
"It felt more like home here and I needed to grow up and mature on my own without having family around."
With a brother that played at Minnesota, is there any smack talk between you two now that you're a Badger?
"A little bit. He's here to support me, but when we play the Gophers he said he'd have his Wisconsin shirt on but will have his Minnesota Gophers shirt on underneath. We go back and forth like that, but he's more than likely a Wisconsin fan now."
What have you learned from your brother and grandfather and their football careers?
"I tried to learn everything that I could from them. Everything that they were good at they tried to teach me, and I tried to better myself off of their experiences in the (NFL) and in college football. I learned to take it one day at time, better myself and have a no days off mentality."
As a true freshman, what has it been like to learn and develop in front of 80,000 people every week?
"It has been a challenge, but as you go on, you have people here to help you. Your coaches and teammates are here to help you and so far that has been a great experience. They motivate me and they teach me the good values of being a great receiver."
Which teammates have you learned the most from so far?
"I've learned a lot from Jared Abbrederis, Kenzel Doe and Connor Cummins. They have all helped me in difference aspects of the game. They're all like my big mentors. They've taught be to have confidence, be consistent when I'm on the field and to play out here in front of 80,000 people like you would if it were Little League or if you were playing in front of your family and friends."
- Ryan Evans