INDIANAPOLIS — As shoes go, they’re a pair of size 17s. Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale combined for 1,900 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground for the Wisconsin Badgers last fall, carrying the water all the way to a Big Ten West title and a victory in the Cotton Bowl.
As for the next man in, well … your guess on the Badgers’ 2017 backfield bell cow is as good as Clement’s.
“Taiwan Deal is more the veteran in that group,” Clement said Thursday at the 2017 NFL Combine. “As far as Bradrick Shaw, he reminds me a little bit of me. And he’s had that fire in his eyes every time he gets the chance to even touch the ball. When he touches the ball, he makes the most of it.”
Deal, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound redshirt sophomore, ran for 164 yards on 32 carries during an injury-shortened 2016 campaign. Chris James, a 5-10 transfer from Pitt, ran for 690 yards and 4 scores, combined, with the Panthers in 2014 and 2015. Shaw, a 6-1, 211-pound redshirt freshman, helped to pick up the slack with 457 yards and 5 rushing scores in 88 carries behind Clement and Ogunbowale.
Shaw averaged 5.2 yards per carry and his electrifying runs in victories over Akron, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue whetted the appetite of Badgers fans who wondered if the Alabama native was the odds-on favorite to become Clement’s heir apparent.
Bradrick Shaw for Heisman 2017
— Braedon Miller (@Braedonm5) October 30, 2016
“It’ll be cool to see who gets that (starting) job,” Clement said. “Because (coach Paul Chryst) doesn’t just hand that starting role out to anybody.
“So I know Bradick is going to compete. Taiwan’s going to compete. Anybody else that’s coming into the running back role just has to have the mindset (that) you want to be on this platform, one day, speaking the same and talking about other upcoming guys.”