Trying to Protect the Border

Beaver Dam (Wis) running back R.J. Shelton was all set to commit to Michigan State when he headed to East Lansing next weekend. Now, one of the top running backs in the state of Wisconsin has another option after UW coach Bret Bielema extended him a scholarship Saturday.

MADISON - Things just got very complicated for Beaver Dam running back R.J. Shelton.

After the 5-11, 185-pound running back got his first offer from Michigan State last week, the speedster from the Little Ten conference was set to commit to the Spartans when he headed to East Lansing for a junior day next weekend.

"Michigan State is still one of my top schools, but Wisconsin is up there now, too," Shelton told Badger Nation. "I am still open and I am not going to make a decision this week, next week or the week after.

That decision changed after Shelton picked up his fourth offer, as Wisconsin joined Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota in the race for the top in-state running back.

"I was a little bit surprised," said Shelton. "Not overly surprised, but it was a kind of a shock there. It was exciting."

Shelton was a fixture at Wisconsin home football games last season, attending every game except for Nebraska, and receiving mail on a weekly basis. After offensive line coach Bob Bostad left, the interest was still there from running back coach Thomas Hammock and new wide receiver coach Zach Azzanni.

"I talked to those guys and with Coach Bielema with my mom and we had a good conversation for about 45 minutes," Shelton said. "We talked about if I did go to Wisconsin, where they would want me to be."

Shelton was offered as an offensive athlete, justification for his multi-dimensional abilities for Beaver Dam High School. Shelton rushed for 2,048 yards and 34 touchdowns on his way to conference offensive player of the year last year. Shelton also described himself as a ‘lock down defender' with roughly 50 tackles last season.

"Coach Bielema really liked what I did on the offensive side and they think I could play running back or wide receiver," Shelton said. "They liked what I did with my speed. They want me to choose with what I am most comfortable with."

After heading to Michigan State this weekend for a second time, Shelton plans to visit either Iowa or Minnesota in the coming weeks to see what those schools have to offer. After the events of Saturday, it appears every offered school is once again in the running.

"I am going to be respectful and see what these schools have to offer," Shelton said. "I am going to think it through and figure out what's best for me."

Shelton and Brookfield defensive end Chikwe Obasih both received scholarship offers during Wisconsin's junior day.

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