Keeping the Pipeline Open

After bringing in three players from St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) in the last two seasons, including last season's conference freshman of the year in James White, Wisconsin is back in Fort Lauderdale and have its eyes fixed on running back Dami Ayoola.

MADISON – Looking to take only one true running back in the 2012 recruiting class, Kenosha Bradford running back Vonte Jackson took a lot of stress away from the Badgers coaches, giving his surprise commitment in late March.

Now the Badgers appear to be after a multi-dimensional athlete with the speed and agility like James White. It's only fitting that to find the next White, Wisconsin has headed to White's Alma Mater, Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas, to take a closer look at back Dami Ayoola, who helped Aquinas win its second national title in the past three seasons.

"We come out and pride ourselves on trying to win every game and getting better every practice, every week, every day," Ayoola told Badger Nation of the school's unofficial motto. "If you come out with the same mindset as yesterday, you are taking a step back. We don't take short cuts, and work extremely hard every day."

Having received offers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Rutgers, UCF, USF and Wisconsin and interest from Florida State, LSU and Miami, Ayoola has no shortage of options at the next level.

"I want to go to a school that is known for great running backs and competing for conference championships every year," said. "I want to go to a school that produces NFL prospects with great graduation rates."

That's been the point hammered home to him when he talks to people about Wisconsin. Having done his research on both the academic and athletic side, noticing how potent UW's running attack was in leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl last season, Ayoola has developed a fondness for the school and for his recruiting contact, Charlie Partridge.

"He's a great guy," Ayoola said of Partridge. "The two times he came down, we had great conversations about the players, the program and about him wanting me to come up and see Madison. He tells me about how James do, about how much fun the campus is and how I can have success there."

Just coming up in the program as a sophomore when the Badgers started recruiting White, Ayoola – who had 855 total yards last season - admits that White is a close friend and a confidant, giving him advice about the recruiting process, telling him to stay humble, enjoy and learn from the process and focused on what the real goal is of winning another high school state championship.

"We are like brothers. We always hung out together and we always try to find time when he comes back home," Ayoola said. "Him being there definitely has an impact on me. He had an impact last season for them and the fans love him there, the coaches, everybody thought he did a great job running the football for Wisconsin.

"He showed that good athletes come from south Florida, and I'm definitely considering Wisconsin because he's a big reason for that. I am excited to try and come up for a visit."

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