Julius Davis is the subject of this edition of Freshman Focus, Badger of Honor’s series helping Wisconsin football fans get to know the incoming talent.
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Rankings: 3-star (No. 35 running back, No. 587 overall)
Other Offers: Buffalo, LSU, Notre Dame, USC
Since the Barry Alvarez era, Wisconsin usually recruits it’s running backs from out of the state. It’s not too common where the Badgers grab a running back from their backyard. Melvin Gordon and John Clay have been exceptions to the rule. There may be another exception to that rule. Julius Davis is a great fit for the Wisconsin football program and grew up just 75 miles away from Madison. Davis had a good sophomore year, appearing in 7 games, rushing for 397 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Davis enjoyed a breakout year during his junior campaign. He played in 10 games, getting 257 carries for 1,762 yards and 17 touchdowns. Wisconsin offered him on November 18 while he was on a visit. He committed just three days later. After his junior season, he started getting offers from some of the big dogs in college football. He received offers from LSU, USC, and Notre Dame in February after the season.
Expectations were high for his senior year. He got off to a hot start in his first game. He rushed for 334 yards and 3 touchdowns against Germantown. He followed that performance up with another solid game against West Allis Hale with 203 yards and 3 touchdowns but suffered an injury that derailed his senior season. He attempted to come back for the playoffs but wasn’t completely healthy. He rushed for 70 yards and touchdown in his final high school game.
What to expect
So what is Wisconsin getting in the three-star running back? Here’s a small taste of what’s coming to Madison.
Davis brings a lot of speed and physicality to the Badgers. At 5’11” and 190 pounds, he comes in with a good bit of size for a freshman. Watching his film, the biggest thing that sticks out to me is his ability to hit the hole with a lot of power and speed. He is patient enough to wait for a hole to open up and he hits it hard.
When he gets to the second and third level he’s hard to bring down. He isn’t afraid to initiate contact and keeps his legs moving. Tackling him up high won’t work, he’ll just run you over. Granted, defenders in the Big Ten are a lot bigger than high school players, but this is the type of player who could have a very successful career as a part of the Wisconsin football program.
Entering the season, he should have a chance to win the backup job to Jonathan Taylor this season without a clear-cut number two. He’ll have to compete with the likes of Bradrick Shaw and Nakia Watson, but I think there’s a good chance he could see some playing time this season. This also means that in the likely scenario Taylor leaves early for the NFL, Davis should have a chance to be the featured back after this season.