The wrestling match in his mind — Nebraska vs. Wisconsin — began in earnest Dec. 3.

That's when Scott Frost and Barrett Ruud visited his home.

"That's when it was like, 'Oh, my goodness,'" Lincoln Southeast defensive lineman Bryson Williams said.

Actually, Ruud had called him Dec. 2, soon after Central Florida won the American Athletic Conference championship game. Williams was taken by surprise even though UCF had been among the first FBS programs to offer Williams a scholarship.

But this time Ruud, who had been a quality control administrator at UCF, was calling on behalf of Nebraska.

Then, about 24 hours later, Ruud and Frost were in his living room, the very day Frost was named Husker head coach.

They offered Williams a scholarship.

Oh, my goodness.

Suddenly, there was a decision to make. Badgers or Huskers?

You perhaps already know the outcome. The 6-foot-2, 297-pound Williams last week reaffirmed his verbal commitment to the Badgers via Twitter and will sign with them Wednesday. He had verbally committed in July.

But how much did he have to wrestle with the decision after Dec. 3?

"Oh, man. It was the only thing in my head throughout a lot of days and until nighttime when I was in bed — just because of the short time I had to make the decision and just because of exactly what the decision was," he said. "It was definitely one of the biggest decisions of my life, and I had a little over a week-and-a-half to make it. I thought about it all the time."

Wisconsin handled Nebraska's late push well. On Dec. 12, Badgers head coach Paul Chryst and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield visited Williams' home — just in case.

Yes, Williams considered Nebraska's offer. He appreciated it. But he said he really never lost sleep over the situation because he felt so good about Wisconsin. He likes how he fits on its depth chart at nose guard and feels comfortable with the Badger coaches, particularly Breckterfield.

He also feels good about the academic component.

"God forbid, but if I were to get injured, would I still be OK at that school?" Williams said. "I got to meet the academic adviser at Wisconsin. She's great. And, honestly, I just didn't get that much time with Nebraska. I didn't get to meet all the people there. I didn't meet any of the out-of-state recruits, and I just had such a great feeling with Wisconsin that I had to take it."

He never did take an official visit to Nebraska, although new Husker assistant director of recruiting Ryan Callaghan pressed for it.

Bottom line, Williams' allegiance to Wisconsin kept him from taking that visit. That tells you plenty about his character.

"I didn't want to ruin any relationships with Wisconsin," he said.

Sounds to me like he picked the right school. He followed his head and his heart.

By the way, he never even took so much as an unofficial visit to Nebraska.

"The last staff never had me," he said of Mike Riley's crew. "It was weird."

He did attend the spring game last April and met with Riley in the head coach's office.

"He brought me in along with (former NU player personnel director) Bill Devaney," Williams said. "They just said they already have Masry (Mapieu) in the recruiting class. They had all those defensive tackles like the Davis twins. They pretty much just didn't have room for me."

Yeah, Williams-to-Wisconsin is a bad look for Nebraska, thanks to Riley and the former Husker staff. We all know why it's a bad look. It has something to do with Wisconsin being 6-1 against Nebraska since 2011, and the fact the Badgers often beat up the Huskers in the trenches.

So now a big Lincoln kid is going to be wearing a "W"? Wonderful.

Breckterfield seems to know what he's doing. He'll find a spot for Williams.

"One of the reasons I considered Nebraska (late in the process) was because I heard rumors Breckterfield was leaving for Oregon State, but then he gave me his word he's staying for a couple years," Williams said. "That was really important to me."

Breckterfield wants Williams to increase his weight to 310 or 315.

"I'm still going to try to keep my 40 under 4.9, though," Williams said. "It's a 4.83 right now. It's the fastest I've ever ran it, and I'm the heaviest I've ever been."

And Riley and his crew didn't want him? Really?

He's over it, Williams said. His story will continue in Madison, Wisconsin.

It's a pretty good story.

Williams was born in Lincoln but moved to Rockford, Illinois, when he was 2. He moved back to Lincoln when he was 14, right before his freshman year at Southeast. He grew up a Husker fan, "but not like a huge one because I didn't live here (in Lincoln). It was the team I watched, though, because my mom grew up in Grand Island and she's always been a big fan."

Williams speaks glowingly of his mom as well as the influence of his stepfather, often a workout partner. In fact, Daniel English trained Williams starting at about age 7.

"He was an assistant coach for the Rockford East basketball team and took me to practices," Williams said. "That's where I think I learned some of my leadership. He's given me a lot. And my mom (Liz Seitz), she put me in a really great situation with moving here and letting me play football and having me in so many different sports."

He leaves Jan. 10 for Wisconsin and begins classes Jan. 22.

"The whole recruiting process was fun," he said. "But that huge curveball at the end gave me a lot to think about. Nebraska was the only school I'd even let in my door in that situation. Stanford and Notre Dame tried to (text) message me. Notre Dame wanted to know if I'd take an official visit. But it wasn’t happening."

Madtown beckoned.

"Even if Coach Riley was still at Nebraska and tried to talk to me late (in the process), I wouldn't have let him in my door."

Hard to blame him.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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