Has there been a more under-appreciated running back in Wisconsin history than James White? Ranked fourth all-time in program history with 4,015 rushing yards, White also owns the Badgers' all-time average yardage record (6.25 yards per carry) and is third in career touchdowns (45). Did I mention he achieved all this while playing second fiddle to the likes of Montee Ball, John Clay and Melvin Gordon? In four seasons at Wisconsin, White played in 52 games but started only 14.
Where might White eventually rank among the pantheon of former Wisconsin running backs in the NFL? Remember B5Q's series from last summer about Wisconsin's best running backs in the NFL? Here's that grid all over again, plus Montee Ball's 2013 accomplishments in Denver.
|WISCONSIN RUNNING BACKS IN THE NFL, 1990-PRESENT|
|PLAYER||YEARS||PRO BOWLS||CAREER RUSH YRDS||CAREER REC YDS||YPC (RUSH)||YPC (REC)||TOTAL TD||BEST RUSHING SEASON|
|Montee Ball||1||0||559||145||4.7||7.3||4||559 yards, 4.7 YPC, 4 TD (2013)|
|John Clay||1||0||41||0||4.1||0||1||2 games, 41 yards, TD (2011)|
|Brian Calhoun||2||0||54||55||3.9||5||0||35 yards, 5.0 YPC, 0 TD (2007)|
|Michael Bennett||11||1||3,703||1,294||4.4||8.1||19||1,296 yards, 5.1 YPC, 5 TD (2002)|
|Ron Dayne||8||0||3,722||340||3.8||6||28||773 yards, 4.0 YPC, 6 TD (2007)|
|Aaron Stecker||10||0||1,526||1,175||4||9.1||11||448 yards, 3.9 YPC, 5 TD (2007)|
|Terrell Fletcher||8||0||1,871||1,943||3.6||7.5||13||543 yards, 3.5 YPC (1998)|
|Brent Moss||1||0||90||-3||4.1||-3||0||90 yards (1995)|
An intelligent, durable and multi-talented running back -- he can run outside and between the tackles, catch out of the backfield (in 2013, he tied for the second-most catches on the team with 39) and pass block -- White has the ability to be a great complementary back and contribute significantly to the Patriots' offense. New England's running back group currently consists mostly of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden, a trio of rushers that's hardly provided a go-to answer in the AFC East.
Reminiscent of former Badgers and San Diego Chargers running back Terrell Fletcher in his elusiveness and ability to contribute in a variety of ways, expect White to compete day in and day out in the NFL. In an April interview with B5Q, White addressed that while sharing carries with other great backs in his time at Wisconsin helped avoid him absorbing too many hits, he's ready to jump at the chance for a starting spot on an NFL roster.