Wisconsin lands four-star tailback Sam Brodner 10 days before national signing day

Finally finding a replacement for Antonio Williams, Wisconsin landed another four-star running back Sunday, adding impressive athlete Sam Brodner following an official visit. BadgerNation breaks down the commitment impact.

Committed Over: Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West tailback Sam Brodner committed to Wisconsin over offers from Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State and Syracuse, among others. He was committed to Vanderbilt from June until November.

Rated: Brodner is a four-star prospect who is currently ranked the No.1 tailback in Illinois, No.5 in the Midwest and No.28 overall in the country by Scout.com.

On Film: Brodner is a thick back with a lower center of gravity. He runs with excellent balance and does not go down easily on first contact or arm tackles. He has good speed and runs downhill, but is not necessarily an elusive back. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and has the build, strength and demeanor for blocking, but we have not gotten to see him do a ton of if yet. He was highly productive in high school, is a tough, hard-working kid, and never really got the credit he deserved for the athleticism he has. We think he will be a really good college back. – National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu.

Recruiting Impact: Finally Wisconsin has someone that will make them forget about Antonio Williams. The four-star tailback from North Carolina put the Badgers in scramble mode when he suddenly de-committed from the program in October, and while Brodner was not their top option, he’s still a very good “plan B” that will be able to contribute within his first two years on campus.

So, what’s left for the Badgers? As far as we can tell, UW has one scholarship at its disposal and are targeting cornerback Caesar Williams out of Grand Prairie, Texas. UW needs help rebuilding the secondary, and Caesar Williams should make a decision within the next week.

UW also has grayshirt offers out to Denver East athlete Deron Harrell and Downers Grove (Ill.) South offensive lineman Erik Swenson. Should Caesar Williams goes elsewhere, or four-star defensive tackle commit Garrett Rand flips his commitment to UCLA, UW would likely upgrade Swenson.

Quotable: "I really felt comfortable at the school. My whole thing was, going to the school for the school and being at a school I would be comfortable with if I wasn't playing football and I felt that at Wisconsin." - Brodner

Final Thought: A former linebacker recruit for Wisconsin, Brodner impressed the defensive coaches during UW’s high school summer camp but didn’t earn an offer after UW went on a run of linebacker commits.  Brodner earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Illinois last fall after rushing for 1,956 yards and 40 touchdowns (showing legit speed and vision), not to mention hauling in 31 receptions for 402 yards and seven touchdowns. And with his background at linebacker, you know he’s comfortable with contact and will embrace pass protection.

Brodner refers to UW as “Running Back U” and getting the opportunity to play in UW’s running-focused offense was critical to the 5-11, 210-pound downhill runner. Having the physical skills to be an early contributor on offense or special teams, Brodner is only going to get better.


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