Offensive lineman Dan Voltz hopes to bring a jolt to Wisconsin's program but only after doing likewise in his senior season at Barrington.
George LeClaire | Staff Photographer
Big men have never been in short supply in the Barrington football program.
Year after year the Big Red Line features some of the biggest and best offensive linemen around. Twelve have played at Division I schools and Dan Stevenson and Otis Hudson made NFL rosters.
The latest big name on the Barrington big-time list is Wisconsin-bound tackle Dan Voltz. He could end up being the best of them all.
"If there's a better offensive lineman out there (this year), I'd love to see him and love to have him," said Barrington offensive line coach Steve Galovich.
"I do know Wisconsin got a good one," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez, "and I believe he's going to have a great career."
But don't think all of the accolades and big-time recruiting interest have made Voltz fat and happy.
On the contrary, the 6-foot-5 Voltz actually feels stronger and quicker by dropping about 10 pounds to 290. His 40-yard dash time has dropped from 5.4 to 5.03 as a result.
"Obviously getting all of the attention I've gotten and the scholarship offers," Voltz said, "people think you're a hot shot and you don't deserve this or you aren't really that good.
"I always keep it in the back of my mind, but I'm not out to prove anything. I've always been a hard worker."
Which is important in the trenches of the football field where actions carry more weight than words.
It will also be important as Voltz becomes more of a leader and mentor for an inexperienced line that lost Division I all-area picks Pat Bolger (Air Force) and Jimmy Kristof (Western Michigan).
"He sets the standard for high play and what to do and he holds kids to a high standard, too," Galovich said. "Probably more than any lineman I've ever had, he keeps working to get better.
"He's quicker than he was and he's stronger than he was. He's a guy who talks about technique and craft and hard work."
It's something he picked up quickly when he made the big leap to the varsity from the affable yet demanding Galovich.
"It developed over my career playing football," Voltz said. "But my first year on the varsity with coach Galovich, I learned he doesn't accept anything less than working hard."
Now Voltz is trying to impart similar wisdom as the leader of the line. In a forceful but not over the top the way.
"He's not the most vocal kid but he'll pull a kid aside and say, 'This is how you have to play,'" Galovich said.
"We have a bunch of kids in their first year on varsity who don't realize what it takes in practice and the work ethic it takes to be successful," Voltz said. "The effort you have to give every rep. That's what I'm trying to instill in the younger guys."
Along with how to handle the ups and downs he's already experienced as a varsity player. From his sophomore year and the only losing season in Sanchez's 10-year tenure to last year and seeing a thrilling 7-0 start fade with three straight losses.
"It was a great experience to be on the varsity (as a sophomore) but the season as a whole, going 3-6, wasn't really fun," Voltz said. "We've all seen what each team has done good and done bad to help this team out to become the best team it can."
That's why Voltz is happy he shed the added recruiting weight back in March with his decision to go to Wisconsin.
He will graduate from Barrington a semester early so he can go through the Badgers' spring camp and start preparing for college football. He's also ready academically as he's leaning toward studying business with a weighted 4.1 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and a 30 ACT score
Voltz's business plan right now is leading Chase Murdock to a third straight 1,000-yard season. Giving Mark Bennett time to find receivers such as Sam Handler and Dylan Zyzda. Chipping in on defense to help the Broncos go beyond last year's first-round playoff exit.
"Any time Chase is back there you know you have an opportunity for a big play at any time," Voltz said. "The O-line is coming together and jelling and we'll have opportunities to make some big plays for each other."
All of it could cement Voltz's status as one of the best on the Big Red Line. As Galovich and Sanchez joked, he's certainly in what would have to be a super-sized team photo.
"I love his mentality. He's a finisher," Galovich said. "I guarantee in his mind he wants to be the best in the state and the best in the country.
"He won't talk about it but he's going to work to do it. It will be fun to watch."