The Chart: 2013 Running Backs

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema likes to take a running back in every recruiting cycle, so who are the Badgers targeting to help fill the void of Montee Ball in 2013? Badger Nation looks at the position.

MADISON - With a poster boy like Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball representing and returning to its program, running back coach Thomas Hammock said he has the perfect person to talk to incoming high school running backs.

"I am going to wear him out in recruiting," said Hammock.

But as the 2013 recruiting process continues to gain steam, it is apparent that the Badgers are still looking to add a young signal caller to their roster. In our Badger Nation series, here is who we view as Badgers targets (interest listed implies to the prospect's interest in Wisconsin).

Top of the List

Four-star David Williams (Imhotep Institute HS, Philadelphia, PA)


Rated the No.17 running back in the nation, Williams looks like a natural in a pro-style offense. Rushing for 1,938 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, Williams already has some experience with the recruiting process, as he decided to transfer schools after his former school announced it was closing.

Wisconsin was his 10th offer in the process and instantly connected with Hammock, who made it known that the Badgers were a school known for putting running backs into the NFL and he would be the only back he would coach in the 2013 class.

"I don't want to go to a school that is taking three running backs," Williams told us. "Coach Hammock told me that he knows where he needs to get me to be able to come in and contribute right away. He told me he can help me get to the NFL and maybe win the Heisman one day because he sees a lot of Montee Ball in me."

Williams visited Wisconsin the second week of April, calling the visit ‘better than expected' and said the visit cemented the Badgers in his top five.

"Basically, that (pro) style of offense makes me feel the most comfortable," said Williams. "I am just looking for a good relationship with the coach because it's important to get out there early and have a good relationship with your coaches."

In addition to Wisconsin, Williams has visited Maryland, Miami and Penn State and says he will likely take some official visits before making his final decision.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium to medium-high interest

Four-star Derrick Green (Hermitage HS, Richmond, VA)


Following a three-offer day from Alabama, Mississippi State and Pittsburgh, Green – rated the No.19 running back in the country – finds his offer list up to 32 choices, an impressive list for a guy who rushed for roughly 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns despite rarely playing in the second half of games.

On his Wisconsin visit in mid March, Green said he spent time talking to Ball (‘He's a great guy,' said Green), spent time with Hammock – Green's recruiting contact whom he calls ‘real cool' – and met with UW coach Bret Bielema.

"Both guys said they like my style of running and that I would fit into the offense (at Wisconsin)," Green told us. "Both said they would be happy to have me as a part of their family. I definitely can say (the visit) was better than what I expected. I just had a great time."

Green has visited a lot of campuses - Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech to name a few – and doesn't plan on making a list of favorites until he can get out and see more schools on his list. With the rate he's pulling in offers, his decision may take awhile.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Four-star Alex Collins (South Plantation HS, Plantation, Fla.)


Although he's been committed to Miami since January 15, the 5-11, 205-pound Collins was open with the Miami coaching staff that he was still going to look at other schools and take his visits. That decision led the Badgers to offer him a scholarship and get him to come to their campus on an unofficial visit for the spring game.

Collins called the city ‘beautiful,' was impressed with the new facilities the Badgers are building and excited with the way Wisconsin utilized its running game. Collins spent his time in Madison talking with UW players, including former teammate Hugs Etienne, and improving his relationship with the coaching staff.

"It was a big deal because it was the most important thing to build that relationship," Collins told us. "I want to see myself playing with these guys, and it was basically me talking with the head coach, the coaching staff and getting to know a little bit about each one of them personally."

Before leaving, the UW staff told Collins that he has the talent and potential to be an every down back for the program. Combined with the academics and the athletics, Collins realized that the Badgers are as good of choice as any. Like Williams and Green, however, Collins plans on waiting on his final decision so that his mom can go on some official visits with him.

"She hasn't seen Wisconsin, Florida State or any other school (but Miami and South Florida)," said Collins, "so it's hard for her to compare like I am comparing."

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium-high to high interest

Three-star A.J. Turman (Boone HS, Orlando, Fla.)


Turman put his name on the recruiting map as a junior this past season when he finished the season with 1,243 yards on 174 carries and 12 touchdowns. But unlike the other running backs Wisconsin is recruiting, Turman (6-2, 205 pounds) is a bruiser in every sense of the word.

"I am a power running back," Turman told Badger Nation. "I am a guy that feels like he can gain more weight and still be a power back."

Turman was reinforced that his style was working when defensive line coach Charlie Partridge applauded him for running with power and how he would fit well into UW's offensive philosophy. Turman called the Badgers' offer ‘surprising' because growing up in the south, he was convinced that he was only going to get offered by in-state or southern schools.

"They have a good coaching staff and I really learned a lot about Wisconsin," Turman told us. "I've done a lot of research about them and they have a really good running game and running history."

While he listed no favorites in early April, Turman did admit that Notre Dame impresses him from an academic standpoint and schools like Florida State, Miami and Tennessee impress him from a competition standpoint. He also said later in the month that Florida State, Miami and Tennessee are recruiting him the hardest.

It appears Wisconsin is banking on one of the three aforementioned running backs coming to Madison. Even if that is true, Turman said he's going to take his visits and decide after his senior season, meaning UW will have time to get back in the race.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium-low to low interest

Three-star Godwin Igwebuike (Pickerington North HS, Pickerington, Ohio)


As a running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards and averaged 8.9 yards per carry, Igwebuike has added quite the impressive offer list – getting offers from Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Kent State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio, Toledo and Wisconsin, who he just visited recently.

The 6-0, 180 pounder plays both tailback and cornerback, making him a unique athlete with a high level of athleticism and knowledge.

"As a running back, I definitely think one of my strengths is my vision," he told Illinois' Fox Sports website. "That's something natural you have to have as a running back, you can't teach that. I think I'm very agile and have speed. I'm a very tough player overall, and I play to contact. I'm not afraid of contact.

"As a defender, I'm very athletic. I go for the jump ball, and I'm very physical with the receivers. I'm also very versatile and can play both cornerback and safety, wherever I can fit in most at."

Coming from a household that stresses the importance of academics, Igwebuike says that the academic reputation of the programs that are recruiting him will play a major factor in his decision. Having visited Cincinnati, Illinois and Wisconsin, Igwebuike plans on committing during the summer or before his senior season.

Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest

Note: The Badgers have offered five-star Illinois back Ty Isaac, four-star Missouri runner Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State commit), four-star Texas back Adam Taylor and three-star Beaver Dam athlete R.J. Shelton (Michigan State commit) but there is little to no interest at this time.


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