BabyBadgers

2016 Baby Badgers: Getting to know the running back offers

Last week we began to give you a look into the extended future of the Badger football program, as UW changes it’s recruiting philosophy in a major way and has begun going hard after sophomore recruits. Currently, the Badgers have 46 offers out to the class of 2016.

We started with a look at the most important position of any class — quarterback — and since then, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has extended a new offer. UW offered St. Paul, Minn. (East Ridge) dual-threat quarterback Seth Green.

However, today it’s the grandaddy of all positions at Wisconsin — running back — to go under the microscope early on in the process. So, let us introduce you to the offers UW has extended at RB to date.

Running Back Offers:

2016 RBs

Courtesy of our partners at Badger247

Kareem Walker:

Wisconsin offered the DePaul Catholic star at the end of February and his offer list reads like a who’s who of college football powerhouses. According to an interview with NJ.com from just last month, Walker has already visited Rutgers, Penn State and Auburn and hadn’t set up any other visits at the time.

The good news for Wisconsin is that he’s looking for a program that has coaches who act like father figures, caring about their players and staying on top of them. Sounds a bit like coach Andersen and his staff, huh?

As for the tape, it’s clear that the sophomore has some good vision and an ability to make others miss. Last season, according to MaxPreps.com, Walker ran for 1,164 yards on just 115 carries and had 12 touchdowns. He averaged a gaudy 10.2 yards per carry and 105 yards a game, all while splitting carries with a senior in front of him.

On the tape it appears that Walker could also be one that isn’t afraid of contact at all, despite a severe lack of it from the opponents on tape. For Wisconsin fans, that sophomore tape should remind them a bit of what Melvin Gordon looked like, but perhaps with a bit better breakaway speed in the open field.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have Alabama in the lead 75 percent to Penn State’s 25 percent. However, just four predictions are in and it appears Walker is taking his time in the recruitment process. He’s definitely going to be a difficult pull for UW, but there’s a long way to go in this battle.

 

Daelin Hayes:

Hayes, listed at 6’3″ and 225 pounds, appears to be more of the bruising back type. However, one look at his tape shows a player who’s equally adept at getting to the edge as he is in lowering his shoulder and making would-be tacklers pay.

Wisconsin offered Hayes just last month, and are going to have an interesting battle to get him out of the state of Michigan, especially with offers from both Michigan and Michigan State already on the table. Other big name programs like Ohio State and Tennessee are in the mix early as well and Hayes has picked up seven offers to date. It’s an impressive list, given the fact that Hayes’ sophomore season ended with a shoulder injury on the first play of the season.

Having Corey Clement and a good mix at running back in the 2014 class, UW could use more of the traditional bruising back in the 2016 class. Hayes appears to fit that bill, but Wisconsin could have a tough time getting him away from the Wolverines or Spartans — at least according to early indications.

The good news is that Hayes said in a recent interview with Scout.com that he does plan on camping at Wisconsin this offseason, and getting him on campus for that will help UW in the recruiting process. While Michigan and MSU may be favorites, a visit to Madison and a good summer camp could really help make UW a dark horse in this race.

 

Kameron Martin:

Wisconsin has made a massive push in to the state of Texas starting with the 2015 class and in to the 2016 class. Martin is one of the highest-rated prospects UW is after in that state in the 2016 class. After a sophomore season that saw him average over seven yards per carry and score 16 touchdowns (according to CSNHouston.com), it’s easy to see why UW would offer.

Competition will be fierce for the rising soon-to-be junior, as he’s up to 22 offers to date. Wisconsin joined the crowd and according to 247sports, have running back coach Thomas Brown as his main recruiter. Considering Brown’s usual focus in the state of Georgia and Bill Busch’s focus on Texas it’s a clue of how high on UW’s board Martin is.

According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball, Florida State is the frontrunner for Martin’s services. They lead with 58 percent of the 12 votes in and it’s all Texas schools after that (Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Baylor).

FSU was named by Martin ($) as his leader recently and when asked about other schools, the Badgers weren’t on that list. Expect UW to not be much of a factor in his recruitment going forward given the offer list he’s got down south.

 

Robert Washington:

One thing we’ve learned about coach Andersen and his recruiting philosophy is that he won’t be afraid to go anywhere to find the right talent for UW. It’s not like the Badgers are known for going heavily in to the state of North Carolina, but they’ve found something early on in Washington.

The 5’11”, 205-pound sophomore is a very interesting prospect for an early offer. He has yet to be rated by 247Sports or have a composite rating as well. Yet, with 30 offers out there for Washington, he isn’t exactly an unknown quantity.

Washington, like Walker before is an absolute magician with the ball in his hands. His combination of size, speed and agility is pretty sick to see. There may not be a better back at making someone miss that I’ve seen on tape in a few years.

The good news is that despite the long and distinguished offer list for Washington, it appears UW could be in the mix for a visit this summer. At least that’s what he told Evan Flood of Badger247 when the offer was extended at the end of March:

“I don’t know a lot about the school itself, but I will be out there this summer to learn about what the program has to offer me,” he said. “I don’t care one bit about a school’s location. I’m just looking for the best fit for me. With them offering me, I will extend the courtesy of giving them a chance and visiting because I am thankful for all of my offers.”

This may be one of the longer recruitments and if Wisconsin can make it in to the first round of cuts then all bets are off. However, that may be easier said than done. Keep an eye out on this recruitment, but don’t be shocked to see UW move on after this summer if they don’t get a visit.

 

Deon McIntosh:

Coming out of the famed Cardinal Gibbons program in Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Wisconsin and the coaching staff are pretty familiar with each other. McIntosh put up impressive numbers as well, recording 1,200 yards and 13 total touchdowns this past season.

This is one of the offers to watch for in the class of 2016 for Wisconsin, because at 5’11” and 170 pounds McIntosh has a lot of room to grow, but has showcased a good amount of skill and speed as a running back already. According to 247Sports, McIntosh has been clocked at a 4.47 40-yard dash already.

Despite the sub-180 pound stature, a quick look at his overall tape shows a back who knows how to use pad level and isn’t afraid of contact. Size will come with time for him and he’s got the right kind of frame to put on muscle in a big way. Don’t be surprised to see him closer to 190 pounds coming out of high school.

UW is one of two Big Ten offers McIntosh has to date, with the Badgers being joined by Penn State. Additonally, East Carolina has offered too. However, schools like Florida State and Miami (FL) have also begun to express interest in the unrated running back.

For me, this offer is the most intriguing of the backs Wisconsin has offered. There is a lot of potential for power and speed in McIntosh and getting in on the recruitment at the beginning stages will help UW a ton.

 

Elijah Holyfied:

Yes, this is one of the sons of famous ex-boxer Evander Holyfield. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s concentrate on the son and his ability to play the game of football.

Wisconsin is the early frontrunner for Holyfield’s recruitment thanks to a good relationship with running backs coach Thomas Brown and a good feel for the University of Wisconsin overall. UW joins Kentucky, Mississippi State and Tennessee with early offers in to the 2016 prospect. Recently things have heated up for him though, as Ohio State became a contender for his signature in 2016. He also added a number of mid-level offers from the likes of Duke, Indiana and Minnesota to the mix as well.

If there is a running back that just looks like a Badger back already, it is Holyfield. At 5’11” and 190 pounds already, he showcases a good amount of speed and power to his game. In fact, his high school tape reminds me a bit of Corey Clement, but only a bit more stockier and a bit more straight ahead in style.

Georgia could be a major player here in his recruitment, but don’t expect the Badgers to go anywhere in this race at all. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Holyfield be amongst the earliest to commit to UW in the class of 2016. It’s a gut feeling based off what has been printed about the relationship between Brown and Holyfield and his knowledge of UW already. If Wisconsin takes two backs in this class, look for Holyfield to be one of them.

 

Who Becomes a Badger (in order of likelihood):
1. Elijah Holyfield
2. Deon McIntosh
3. Daelin Hayes
4. Robert Washington
5. Kareem Walker
6. Kameron Martin

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

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