Cornerback Nyzier Fourqurean's path to Wisconsin began at Division II Grand Valley State

MADISON – Nyzier Fourqurean has always felt the need to prove his worth as a football player.
Coming out of Mentor High School in Ohio, Fourqurean had a solid résumé. He had been named all-conference, all-district and all-region as a senior defensive back for a team that finished 13-1.
Nevertheless, he had no FBS scholarship offers.
He initially committed to play at Saint Francis University, an FCS program in Pennsylvania. He changed his mind, however, and settled on Division II Grand Valley State in Michigan.
That decision, no one knew at the time, would eventually lead him to Wisconsin.
“I’ve always had doubters,” the junior cornerback said after practice this week.
Cornerback Nyzier Fourqurean, a transfer from Division II Grand Valley State, has worked his way onto the No. 2 unit.
Fourqurean’s coach at Grand Valley State was Matt Mitchell, who is in his first year as UW’s outside linebacker/special teams coach.
Looking to bolster the cornerback depth last spring, the defensive staff extended several scholarship offers.
After several misses, Mitchell suggested looking at Fourqurean.
“He didn’t want to take him from Grand Valley because he has been there for so long,” cornerbacks coach Paul Haynes said of Mitchell, who had been at the school since 2004. “But when we got in our situation when we needed guys and he was available, he thought the kid could play here."
Fourqurean committed to Vanderbilt on May 7.
“They offered me a great opportunity,” Fourqurean said. “It was an SEC school. That was something I really couldn’t turn down.
“I was committed but I got a text from Coach Mitchell letting me know they had an opening. They wanted me to come and check it out.”
Fourqurean visited Madison before signing with Vanderbilt and on May 16 announced he was coming to UW.
“Everything felt right,” Fourqurean said. “This is where I wanted to be.”
Fourqurean's relationship with Matt Mitchell, his head coach at Grand Valley State, was crucial
“It was big,” Fourqurean said. “I wouldn’t say it was everything because everything here is good, like the culture. This fits everything I wanted. But Coach Mitchell put the cherry on top, knowing that he wouldn’t lead me in the wrong direction. I can trust him.”
Jumping to the Big Ten from Division II? Isn't that risky?
“I had people saying I couldn’t do (this) because it’s a big jump,” Fourqurean said. “People thought I should have went to the MAC just to take that next step, maybe this is too big of a jump to the Big Ten. But it’s just about believing in yourself. You’ve got to take that risk."
Fourqurean, 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, believed he could make the jump because he had garnered All-American honors as a sophomore at Grand Valley State. He intercepted four passes, broke up 14 overall and recorded 37 tackles for a team that finished 12-1.
“I think I have good instincts,” he said. “I can play zone, play man. I’m always going to be a good teammate. I’m always going to give my best effort.”
Fourqurean has worked his way onto the No. 2 defense
After opening preseason camp on the No. 3 defense, Fourqurean has been getting more and more time on the No. 2 unit.
Two players who have aided his transition are cornerbacks Alexander Smith and Ricardo Hallman, who are on the No. 1 unit.
“They helped me a lot throughout this whole process,” Fourqurean. said “Even though we’re in competition…that just shows the type of guys that are on the team.”
Cornerbacks coach Paul Haynes did his homework before Fourqurean signed with UW
Haynes is friends with Tony Annese, the head coach at Ferris State. Grand Valley State and Ferris State are rivals and Haynes wanted another frank opinion on Fourqurean.
“He gave me two thumbs-up, too,” said Haynes, who is in his first season at UW. “You never know. But I’m telling you he is a competitive kid. He is smart. He corrects his mistakes. So it doesn’t matter what level you’re on. If you’ve got that work ethic, you can definitely play on this level.”
Fourqurean has no doubt.
“I was a little bit skinnier, maybe a little bit slower back then,” Fourqurean said when asked about why he had so few offers coming out of high school. “I wasn’t this tall or this long. Maybe it was that, but we’re here now so at the end of the day I got where I wanted to be.”

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