The Badgers coaching staff extended 2014 running back offers to Minneapolis' Jeffrey Jones and New Jersey's Jonathan Hilliman, but the Wisconsin coaches kept its hands in its pockets in terms of offering senior-to-be runners. Why? With the number of offers Wisconsin has out to top-tier senior running backs, the Badgers are far from their plan B options.
In our Badger Nation series, we update 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)
"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 unofficial top 10 - Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Arizona State, California, Tennessee, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Rated the No.17 running back in the nation, Williams looks like a natural in a pro-style offense.
"Basically, that (pro) style of offense makes me feel the most comfortable," said Williams, who rushed for 1,938 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. "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, North Carolina State, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee. He plans to camp at Penn State and Ohio State July 27. Williams said he will likely take some official visits before making his final decision, and we predict it will come down between the Badgers and the Nittany Lions.
Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium to medium-high interest
Four-star Derrick Green (Hermitage HS, Richmond, VA)
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, who rushed for roughly 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, has camps planned in Atlanta in June and at The Opening in Oregon in July, as well as visits to Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss. Citing his decision will be based on academics, how the program uses its running backs, playing time and getting their players to the NFL, Green is taking his time with his recruitment.
"I want to narrow things down to 10 schools before the end of the summer and take some unofficial visits this fall and see some games," Green said. "As far as making a commitment, I definitely don't know. It could be as late as signing day or if it feels right somewhere while I'm visiting. I have no timetable on a commitment."
Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest
Four-star Alex Collins (South Plantation HS, Plantation, Fla.)
"There are more schools and a lot of coaches came through to check on me this spring, but the two showing the most interest are Florida State and Wisconsin," Collins told Fox Sports. "They just recruit me all the time and that stands out."
Collins called Madison ‘beautiful' when he came up for an unofficial visit for UW's spring game, 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.
"I really liked the offensive linemen up there," he said. "I had never stood under a 6-foot-9 person before, but I did there, and it was like standing under a tree. I was up there seeing if I could see myself there and I had a positive visit there. I liked getting to know the coaches and players."
Collins remains a Miami commit, but lists the Seminoles and Badgers right there behind the Hurricanes. He will turn his focus more towards recruiting later this year.
"I am still focused on high school right now and taking care of my grades, but I will focus more on recruiting when I take my official visits. I will likely take all five, but I am not certain yet. I just want to see everything that is out there."
Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium-high to high interest
Three-star Zaire Williams (Timber Creek Regional HS, Erial, NJ)
As a junior, Williams rushed 195 times for 1,621 yards and 28 touchdowns, and defensively had two interceptions. He transferred to Timber Creek from Cherokee High (Marlton, N.J.) in the winter, and his recruitment has stayed busy with BCS offers from Connecticut, Iowa, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
"The Big Ten …it has a good education," Williams said. "That's the most important thing for me. They've been a winning program for so long. It's a good program for running backs. They run the ball a lot."
Williams said he wants to take a closer look at Wisconsin in the fall and will have time with a lot of the top running backs on UW's board not deciding until the fall.
Status: Offered Scholarship – Medium interest
Three-star A.J. Turman (Boone HS, Orlando, Fla.)
"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 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
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 (uncommitted), four-star Tennessee running back Jordan Wilkins (uncommitted) and three-star Beaver Dam athlete R.J. Shelton (Michigan State commit) but there is little to no interest at this time.