A Wisconsin Option for Tompkins

After getting a verbal commitment in spring from Kenosha Bradford (Wis.) running back Vonte Jackson, Wisconsin is done taking ball carriers in the 2012 recruiting class. That doesn't mean, however, they are done taking running backs.

MADISON - With the commitment of Kenosha Bradford running back Vonte Jackson in the spring, the Badgers fulfilled their running back quota for the 2012 recruiting class. That doesn't mean, however, that the Wisconsin coaching staff isn't going to take another running back and put him somewhere else on the field.

At least, that's how Wisconsin is approaching the 5-foot-9, 168-pound Nick Tompkins.

A three-star running back ranked No.60 in the country by Scout.com out of Snellville (GA) Brookwood HS, Tompkins has been on Wisconsin's radar for over a year, going back to when former running back coach John Settle started recruiting him during his sophomore year and convinced to come up to UW's summer camp.

Wisconsin was the only school Tompkins camped at last summer, giving him an opportunity to see the school where his dad played college football. Tompkins' father, Reginald Tompkins, played wide receiver for the Badgers, lettering in 1985 and '86, and he roomed with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst who played quarterback.

"With my dad going to Wisconsin, I know a lot about them and camping there gave me a chance to compete with those guys," Tompkins told Badger Nation. "It's a great school."

The camp set the tone for Tompkins' junior season, as he got the motivation to get better in the weight room and better in the fine details to become a better football player. The results showed, as Tompkins rushed for 1,890 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

"I felt like I had the speed, but I knew I had to get bigger, especially after the one-on-one drills with the linebackers," Tompkins said. "I did learn some great blocking skills from the camp, because the running backs there need to block those big defensive linemen.

"I've worked hard all offseason to improve my weaknesses and it really paid off during the season last year."

But with the Badgers sticking with their one running back promise and with the coaching seeing the impact Tompkins could have, the UW coaches have offered the three-star running back with hopes of moving him to the defensive side of the ball.

"They said I could make a great impact in their program, but they have to keep their promise to (Vonte) of only taking one back," Tompkins said. "They are recruiting me as an athlete-type of player and move me to maybe cornerback or safety."

Much like in the recruitment of Melvin Gordon, Tompkins feels that his heart if playing running back at the college level, a reason Wisconsin isn't currently in his list of favorites. Regardless, recruiting contact Joe Rudolph has been active in keeping in contact with Tompkins to try and set up a trip to the UW campus.

"They want to set up an unofficial visit where I can go up there and talk to Coach Bielema, see the campus, get a feel for the place and see what they have in store for me," said Tompkins, who got an in-school visit from UW coaches during the spring evaluation period. "They want me to go and visit and give it a chance before I rule them out. They would like me to talk to the defensive back coach and they said that sometimes after a year, guys switch to the other side of the ball after their freshman year."

In addition to Wisconsin, Tompkins has picked up offers from Arkansas, Army, Boston College, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

"I've always felt like I've been a great player and that I had the potential to play Division 1," Tompkins said. "I was kind of expecting some offers, and I was in a little panic mode earlier this year when I didn't have any offers. It then hit all of a sudden in early March when I got my first offer from Virginia, and it's been going fast ever since. All my offers are good Division 1 schools."

Now that baseball season for Tompkins, he plans on making ‘plenty' of unofficial visits and come up with a list of favorites, although he has an early list heading into summer.

"As of now, it's Ole Miss, Michigan State, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Maryland," Tompkins said. "Those are the schools I really like, but I want to take more visits to some other schools and see how those schools are."

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