As far as he knows, St. Benedict (TN) running back Jordan Wilkins
or his coach never sent a highlight tape to the offices of Thomas Hammock
at the University of Wisconsin
It just goes to show that the Badgers running back coach is always on the lookout for that one running back that can carry on UW's impressive running tradition.
While the Badgers continue to sit well with a number of talented backs around the country, Hammock was impressed enough with Wilkins' style that he offered the 6-1, 195-pound back just off his film.
"I honestly haven't talked to them too much, which is why I was so surprised by the offer," Wilkins told Badger Nation. "I talked to them for the first time maybe five or six months ago, but we haven't talked that much. It was surprising."
According to Wilkins, the reason Wisconsin offered was the Badgers are looking for a bigger back that can run, get down field and finish down field. That certainly one of Wilkins' positive character traits after he rushed for 1,546 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, being named as a finalist for Tennessee's Mr. Football in the process.
Hammock is planning on coming down during the spring to watch Wilkins go through spring drills.
"Coach Hammock told me the other day that they have a spot for a player like me at Wisconsin," said Wilkins. "He said he was looking forward to coming down and trying to have a good relationship with me. He's excited to come and visit. He says I am a runner they don't around too much."
The excitement feeling is mutual for Wilkins – a three-star running back ranked the No.34 runner in the country by Scout.com. Although his offer list is very heavy with southern schools (Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt to name a few), Wilkins does have a Big Ten offer from Michigan.
His knowledge is limited on the Badgers, but admits he has seen Wisconsin play on television and knows that the school loves to run the ball.
"They love running the ball with Montee Ball, and I know he has a terrific career," said Wilkins. "Ball runs like me, so (Wisconsin) is definitely a place I am going to have to check out this summer. I don't know too much about them, so I am not going to count them out of anything. That wouldn't be right if I don't check them out to see what they are about and meet all the coaches."
Named All-State (Division II-AA), All-Metro, and All-Region for the second straight year, Wilkins has become well versed with different offenses due to his school having a melting-pot offense. According to Wilkins, St. Benedict at Auburndale (located just outside Memphis) ran some spread, Power-I and even the wishbone offense at times last year.
"I am use to every kind of offense," said Wilkins. "I averaged between 18-20 carries per game. Schools talk to me about different styles of offense and how I could fit into different positions. Some schools have even talked about me being in the slot because I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I want to be a running back in college, but I have some versatility that schools like."
Wilkins says he is not favoring any schools nor has a top five because of all the new schools coming into the picture. With keeping every school at the same level, Wilkins hopes he can plan his Wisconsin visit to coincide with one of the Badgers' two high school summer camps next month.
"If I am going to go on a visit, I would like to see if I can go to a camp because I just like competing," said Wilkins. "I have nothing set as of right now, but I am going to start to make plans of where I want to go this summer."
It's been evident through the early months of the 2013 recruiting cycle that the Badgers will go anywhere to offer a running back. After offering backs in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas and Wisconsin, the Badgers added Tennessee to the list, offering three-star back Jordan Wilkins.