Gauthier’s recruiting heats up
Bay Port JR receiving big-time offers
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – The future for Bay Port football player Landon Gauthier appears to be bright.
Fueled by a strong junior season, Gauthier is turning plenty of heads in the Division I college ranks.
The University of Wisconsin, a member of the Big Ten, was the most recent Division I program to offer Gauthier after he made a campus visit last weekend.
Gauthier also has Division I offers from Minnesota (also a member of the Big Ten), Ohio, Syracuse, North Dakota State and Wyoming — the first Division I school to offer Gauthier.
He also made a campus visit to Purdue — a member of the Big Ten as well.
“It’s been a fun process — things are getting busy,” Gauthier said. “I’ll take my time to decide — I’m not in any hurry. I just want to continue to work hard, focus on getting better and stay healthy. I think there are lots of opportunities out there.”
Gauthier said the offer from Wisconsin doesn’t change his immediate future.
“I plan to verbally commit sometime later this summer,” he said. “I’m excited to decide down the road and for what’s to come in the future.”
After the recently completed college season, Wisconsin hired former Ohio State coach Luke Fickell as its new coach.
Former Bay Port players Alec Ingold and Cole Van Lanen — both of whom are now playing in the NFL with Miami and Jacksonville, respectively — each attended Wisconsin.
When Gauthier received his first offer from Wyoming during this past season, it was only then he realized playing at the Division I level was possible.
“I was expecting it to pick up some (during the season), but it was still pretty cool to get that first offer,” he said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to play Division I college football, but I didn’t see it unfolding like this.”
Gauthier, who is looking to study finance, is being recruited to play inside linebacker at the next level.
“Of course, I’ll take more visits once I narrow the choice down — get a feel for the campuses and all it has to offer,” he said. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything specific I’m looking for. I want the combination of a good education and the right fit football-wise.”
The Pirates had a strong 2022 campaign — finishing 12-1 and advancing to the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals before falling to Kimberly, the eventual state champion.
Bay Port will have to replace plenty of starters on both sides of the ball, so Gauthier knows he’ll have to step up even more during his senior season.
“It was a good year for us,” he said. “We had a nice season, and it was exciting to make it as far as we did. If the new players who need to step up next season do, I feel we can make another deep run.”
Longtime Pirates coach Gary Westerman said Gauthier has all the tools needed to play at the Division I level.
“Landon is a tireless worker and a great teammate,” he said. “He has some natural physical abilities, but his character and work ethic go above and beyond that. He’ll get plenty more offers in the next few months. It’ll be interesting to see how the spring goes and how much more the recruiting process heats up.”
Westerman noted Stanford is another school that has shown good interest in Gauthier.
“Landon is a smart kid and does well in the classroom,” Westerman said. “To show how hard he works, he’s put on roughly 22 pounds since the beginning of the (2022 high school) season.”
Gauthier ended his junior season with 87 total tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.