In the first portion of the Wisconsin Football depth chart, we looked at quarterbacks. In our next portion, we will look at the running back depth. As it stands today, the Badger running backs are a young group, meaning that there is a lot of opportunities for young players to snag playing time early in their college careers.
The Badgers are looking to replace three players who logged carries last season. Nakia Watson left the program and has transferred to Washington State. Garrett Groshek signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints. Fullback Mason Stokke has signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers
Starters- Jalen Berger (Running Back) and John Chenal (Fullback)
These are fairly certain and doesn’t provide any potential competitions during fall camp. Berger and Chenal logged a lot of snaps last season. Berger saw a majority of the snaps at running back behind quarterback Graham Mertz. The duo could be one of the best in the Big Ten and in the country. While Chenal was behind Stokke on the depth chart last season, he has played a ton over the last few seasons. Don’t be surprised if Chenal is in an NFL training camp next summer.
Berger led the team last season in rushing. He ended last season with 60 carries, 301 yards, and 2 touchdowns. While those numbers won’t stand out, he showed how qiuck and powerful he was for a freshman in one of the most physical conferences in the country. Berger has proven to be a three down back and will get a majority of the carries this season. Chenal logged in 12 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns. A senior fullback like Chenal should provide a good wall for a young group of running backs.
Back Up- Isaac Guerendo
Isaac Guerendo had a great moment in 2019 when he had a stellar kick return against Minnesota. It led to a Badger touchdown that allowed Wisconisn to pull away in the second half. in 2020, Guerendo only carried the ball 11 times for 36 yards. Because of the question marks on the depth chart behind Berger, I will give the nod to Guerendo to start the season as the back up. I like the quickness and flashes Guerendo possesses. He should have opportunities to give Berger a break or even take an entire series.
Back Up- Julius Davis
The hype was real for Julius Davis coming out of high school. I still believe he has the most potential of all the running backs not names Jalen Berger. Unfortunately, Davis has had a history of injuries early in his Badger career. The good news is he is still young and has plenty of chances to show what he can do. If he can stay healthy and put up a good camp this fall, I believe he will crack the rotation and see quality reps this season.
Other Backs To Watch
Brady Schipper is another running back to look for this season. While he has been with the program a few years now, he hasn’t had the chance yet to crack consistent playing time. Schipper was given a great opportunity in spring ball as he was the only healthy running back at times in practice. If he has a good fall camp as well, he could see some reps this season.
The Badgers also bring in three running backs in their 2021 class. This includes Jackson Acker, Loyal Crawford, and Antwan Roberts. Could we see the next great Wisconsin running back in this class? We will find out!
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