Ewing’s Path to Draft Paved in Hard Work

Wisconsin football is known for a few things such as big offensive lineman and running backs.  But it’s also known for it’s amazing ability to pluck walk-on’s that become stars by the end of their time in the Badger program.  One such person is now former Badger fullback Bradie Ewing, who’s sitting beside the phone and tv waiting to see if he becomes the latest walk-on to NFL draftee out of Wisconsin.

The process of getting to where he is now has been paved in hard work from the time he came to Wisconsin as a freshman through now.  The process of the NFL Draft has been a different animal altogether though.

“It was a little unexpected, kind of crazy,” said Ewing of the draft process to date.  “Probably the biggest shocker to me was the combine.  All the medical stuff and the psychological testing, it kind of opened my eyes.”

It wasn’t all hard though, there’s got to be some fun involved in the process, right?

“I consider myself kind of an average Joe, so getting to compete with the guys that you hear about at the combine and the Senior Bowl [was] interesting,” said Ewing about the fun part of his draft process.

There’s that and the fact that Ewing, amid the chaos of the NFL Draft process, found time to squeeze in a wedding.

Badger fans know what Bradie Ewing is capable of as we’ve seen him open gaping holes for running backs like Montee Ball, John Clay, and James White.  It’s also known that he’s much more than just a typical fullback.  But, what does Bradie see as helping him gain an edge in possibly hearing his name over the next two days?

“Being a former running back and having some of the experience that way can help,” he said.

“Showing I’m more than just a put my head down and hit people kind of guy is big.  A lot of guys can do that, [but] being athletic and bringing some running back skills as well as being able to catch the ball out of the backfield helps me separate from the competition.”

Besides that there’s an area that most rookies are thrust in to and that’s special teams.  

“I’ve played Special Teams all four years in college.  Especially as a fullback, and as a rookie in general I think it’s something you need to do,” Ewing said.  “There’s only 53 roster spots and to be one of the 53 you need to be able to do a lot of things.  It gives me an edge, but at the same time you have to produce.”

Some would say fullback is a dying art in the NFL, but a former Badger named Chris Pressley is providing some hope in that area for not just Ewing but all aspiring to the position at the highest level.  

“Being able to see someone like that [Chris Pressley],” he said.  “It kind of gives you optimism and excitement.” 

Now that it’s down to the draft itself what does Bradie hope to have happen this weekend?  Growing up in Richland Center, Bradie was naturally two things: a Badger fan and a Packer fan.  He’s gotten to live out one dream and another dream could be on the horizon, just not the same as the one growing up.

“Obviously being from this state and growing up a Packer fan you know that would be, much like playing for the Badgers, a dream come true.” said Ewing.  “But, at the same time I’m just looking forward to hearing my name called.  Any team that’s willing to invest in me and my talents, I’m excited to be a part of that program and buy in to what they’ve got going on.”

Back at the University of Wisconsin he finds that this program and it’s tradition of walk-on success is in good hands.

He believes that guys like Jared Abbrederis, Ethan Hemer, and Ethan Armstrong will be able to pass along the tradition of walk-on to star at the University of Wisconsin and some, like Abbrederis have already done that.

“I think that’s what this program is all about.  Kids that come in and work hard, have opportunities and make the most of them,” said Ewing about the walk-on tradition at the university.

In true low key Bradie Ewing fashion he plans on watching the draft with his new bride and his immediate family.  He’s hoping to see all of his hard work pay off by hearing his name called over the next few days but knows that’s just the beginning of more hard work ahead.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com