Despite losing two-time best Big Ten running back Montee Ball to the NFL draft last year, the Wisconsin Badgers have found promise in Davon Crookshank, a running back from Missouri City, Texas who happens to be one of Ball’s biggest fans.
The 5-foot-ten, 195- pound running back verbally committed to play football at Wisconsin on Sunday night, becoming the first at his position to commit to the class of 2015. Among the competitors were Baylor, Colorado, Fresno State, and others, with a total of eight offers to date. According to Lloyd Banks, his running back coach at Fort Bend Marshall High School, Crookshank was “always fascinated with Wisconsin” and their offensive approach. Head coach James Williams added that he and the other coaches told Davon they wanted him to follow in Montee Ball’s athletic footsteps. “We told him that’s the kind of runner we wanted him to be. There are a lot of similarities in those two”, said Williams.
Ball is the NCAA’s leader in career rushing touchdowns (83) and is second in Wisconsin’s program history for career rushing yards (5,140). If his numbers steadily increase each year at Wisconsin, Crookshank will be on the heels of his idol. He ran for 1,095 yards and 18 touchdowns on 126 carries as a junior, bringing his yards-per-carry average to 8.69, topping Ball’s career 5.6 yards per carry. As if this wasn’t already enough, he is also fast: Crookshank ran track, making state in the 5A 4 x 100 M relay. His speed will give him leverage on the field to outpace defenders and get to the corner as quickly as possible. He is a downhill running back and is an extremely physical player, with the ability to break tackles and fall forward when tackled.
UW has put an extra into this year’s recruiting efforts in Texas. Prior to this class, Wisconsin had not signed a player from the state in five years-they now have four players (including Crookshank) that hail from Texas, a state known as breeding grounds for football talent.
Wisconsin now has 16 total commits in the class of 2015, making them the No. 25 ranked class in the nation and No. 4 in the Big Ten, according to 247 sports. Crookshank is ranked as the No. 67 running back nationwide and No. 105 player in the state of Texas. With all of these factors combined, the Badgers have a shot at a strong season this fall against their Big Ten opponents.