The 2015 season was not anywhere near what Corey Clement had envisioned.
Expected to be the next Wisconsin running back who would produce another powerful rushing attack, Clement never came close to achieving that, struggling with injuries and legal issues, instigating a brawl at his off-campus apartment. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Wisconsin ground game struggled without Clement last season, as the rushing attack was unrecognizable at times.
With 2015 officially behind him, and with Clement growing from his struggles, the senior said he feels humbled and refocused on the process, which means that everything he thought he could accomplish as a junior could come one year later.
Stats: 48 carries for 221 yards (4.6 average), long of 58, and five touchdowns in 2015.
Strengths: While limited to only four games last season and never being fully healthy, Clement still showed how effective he can be as a runner. After missing seven straight weeks following the season opener, he ran for 115 yards on just 11 carries and three touchdowns in a rain-soaked victory against Rutgers. Clement has shown throughout his career that he has the ability of being patient and allowing the hole to develop before he breaks through with a full head of steam. Clement is capable of running the football up the middle as a bruiser or bounce a run to the outside with speed. Clement’s physical running style allows him to wear defenses down before he finds a way of eventually breaking a long run.
Weaknesses: The question surrounding Clement is health. Not only did Clement’s sports hernia problems hinder his junior season, he had to leave the bowl game with an ankle injury after a career-high 19 carries. Throw in the fact that he was plagued with a shoulder injury that limited him down the stretch as a sophomore, something overlooked because of Melvin Gordon’s historic season, Clement is starting to become injury prone.
Outside of staying healthy, Clement can also work on his pass catching skills out of the backfield. Over his three year career Clement has caught 17 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He may not be relied upon in the passing game as much as some other options, but he still needs to be capable in order to keep defenses honest.
Why he’s #1: After last season it should be pretty obvious that Clement is the most important player to Wisconsin’s team success. Even though Clement was only healthy enough to play in four games, he still finished third on the team in rushing yards (221). Named to the preseason Maxwell Award watch list, Clement is the only player who can consistently make something happen with the football in his hands. At only about 75-80 percent against Rutgers, his 58-yard run was the longest team rush of last season. The number of explosive plays was lacking for Wisconsin with no true home run threat. The return of Clement should change that.
Overall: With a young quarterback, Wisconsin needs someone to provide the ability to spark the offense, especially facing a schedule that is one of the toughest in recent memory. The defense has the ability to keep the Badgers in games but the offense needs to sustain itself. Clement is clearly Wisconsin’s most talented player on the offensive side, and with the program’s young offensive line gaining a year of experience, it should allow Clement to help guide a rushing attack the program has become known for. When healthy Clement looks like one of the better running backs in college football. He just has to prove it. After how disappointing 2015 went, nobody is more anxious that Clement to show what he’s capable of doing as Wisconsin’s No.1 tailback.