(Over the next few days we’ll be taking a look at each position on the Badgers roster and breaking down what took place during the 2015 spring camp)
Wisconsin Badgers fans have been spoiled for a better part of a decade, with not only one, but usually two running backs that are nationally elite. Going in to the 2015 offseason, that wasn’t necessarily a proven situation.
Sure there was at least one elite running back, with the return of true junior Corey Clement. However, behind him was a whole lot of inexperience and youth. Did spring do anything to alleviate those concerns?
Potential Depth Chart:
1. Corey Clement, Jr. — No ifs, ands or buts about it, Clement is the starting back. There weren’t exactly a lot of opportunities to see him work this spring, but that was because Chryst and Co. were protecting their No. 1 offensive weapon from being unnecessarily hit. Clement is going to be a star, it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for the nation to catch on to what Badger nation already knows.
2. Taiwan Deal, RS Fr. — While it may be tempting to think that Ogunbowale will get this role, there was way more in the way of potential and a lot more of a change of pace with Deal in the mix. He’s a bruising, punishing and fast back all in one package. While Clement isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder, he’s not on Deal’s level. Don’t be surprised to see Deal earn this position in camp or early in to the season.
3. Dare Ogunbowale, RS Jr. — Yes, Ogunbowale was the leader in rushing yards during Saturday’s spring game. He racked up 86 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard dash as well. Therein lies the secret of what went down. Ogunbowale put up just 31 yards on 10 carries outside of that big run. He’s a good option, but as a primary backup all he provides is Clement-light, and that may not be as useful come the fall as it was with Clement not in the lineup.
What We Learned:
Spring was all about introducing a brand new look to the running back group. It was also about finding out what the identity of the group is going to look like. Corey Clement didn’t see a lot of action all spring long, but looked his usual self when he did see action.
Most importantly, this entire group showed intriguing potential. In fact, it may be another three-headed monster, just a different looking monster. After seeing Taiwan Deal and Dare Ogunbowale during the spring game there are three very good running backs already on the roster.
Serge Trezy flipped from safety to running back late, but he wasn’t totally lost and appears that he could even be in the mix for carries come fall camp. Add in four-star speed burner Jordan Stevenson and the Badgers have plenty of different looks and talent to be a dangerous team no matter who gets the rock behind that offensive line.