Wisconsin Football: Predicting Running Back Stats

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Running back Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Running back Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Football
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 28: Joel Stave (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Nakia Watson

Watson is a true freshman with a huge hill to climb if he wants to earn a chunk of carries in 2018. Not because he isn’t talented, but because of the four names above him on the depth chart. Watson may redshirt after the first handful of games, thanks to the new redshirt rule, which is probably best for him. I hope he gets a few looks early in the non-conference slate to at least see what he can do. After all, we’re only one year removed from a true freshman Badger running back breaking out. Watson comes from a powerhouse program in Texas where he posted big numbers of his own.

Related Story: Freshman RB Nakia Watson

Taiwan Deal

Deal missed all of last season with an injury and has one final year in Madison to live up to the exciting freshman year he had. Deal is a wild card and it will be very difficult for him to carve out a role in the backfield. His veteran status in the running back room and leadership should still get him some action, and he may make spot impacts here and there like Rachid Ibrahim from last year. Deal will have to climb a hill to earn any significant carries, much like Watson, but Deal is out of eligibility after 2018. I think Deal can potentially rush for a couple hundred yards, but it’s difficult to tell where he’s at health-wise after his injury.

Alec Ingold

Ingold is going to be the lead blocker for just about every running back listed here. He plays the most thankless position on the team, especially given how often the Badgers line up with a fullback. Ingold, fortunately, plays for a program that likes to reward the fullback from time to time with some carries. The 4th-and-1 fullback dive is a staple of the Wisconsin offense and Ingold should benefit greatly from it this year.

Ingold also has an unusually strong nose for the end zone. He has 11 career rushing touchdowns on only 77 career carries, and three receiving touchdowns on only nine total catches. Ingold could score six touchdowns this year and I wouldn’t be surprised.

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The Wisconsin backfield could put up historic numbers this year. Taylor rushing for 2,000 yards could make carries for others hard to come by, but the other backs are talented enough to make the most of those carries and support what Wisconsin hopes to be a Heisman Trophy-winner.