While all roads lead to him being a Buckeye next year right now, the Badgers have no time to dare be sour. They have to go back onto that recruiting trail and feel the power. Let's see where the Badgers could initially look to get a replacement for Williams.
We begin by entering flip city with a real chance of victory. Bryant is a 247Sports four-star back out of St. Louis, Mo., (Christian Brothers College) -- rated as a composite three-star altogether -- who had a splashy summer camp season with a dominant performance at the Opening in Chicago, ending up with the highest SPARQ score for a running back. He ultimately committed to Kansas State, but along the way he made two unofficial visits to Madison.
BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull noted Bryant would be a possible player of interest on B5Q's podcast on Thursday night (23-24:00 minute mark). He is definitely a back with a lot to like, showing good power for his 5'10, 195-pound frame, and with his athleticism translating to the field.
More than likely, the scenario is that five-star phenom Kareem Walker ends up with the Wolverines, and this gives them four running back commitments. This will make it possible for the backs to be flipped -- and Falcon is the most likely flippable target for the Badgers to grab on the rebound. And I get it, why is the in-state back (Southfield) the one who would be the most likely out. Why? Because recruiting sucks.
Falcon -- rated four-stars by Scout.com and Rivals.com -- missed his sophomore season with a knee injury, bounced back and as the Hudl shows, played well his junior year. Then, after he got that commitment to Michigan, he injured his knee again and didn't play his senior season. But the physical gifts are undeniable. He's 220 pounds and was still able to run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash time before his senior season. He's a one-cut and go runner who runs with real power. He has a spectacular offer list and when he saw the field, he played like an all-star. He's higher risk than the other backs on here, but he's definitely of the highest reward.
Let's talk sleeper! *waves arms wildly*
You look at Hebert's offer sheet and you're thinking, this guy might be a sharp downgrade from Williams, but something has clicked his senior year. He takes carries for American Heritage in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is dominating in one of the better leagues in one of the most talent-rich states in the country. The Hudl profile shows a back that's moving fluidly through defenses with speed, slashing agility, and the leg drive to keep falling forwards. Florida International leads, so a power five offer might be a game changer.
He's interesting in that he is the most recent follow of running backs coach John Settle. And if he's John Settle's first choice, he's probably the first place the Badgers go. And If you're looking for a back that could be a simulacrum of Antonio Williams, it's the 5'11, 206-pound back from Shelby, N.C. The three-star back runs hard and has the quickness and agility to turn small holes into big plays. Right now, he is currently committed to Virginia, but they do look like they're playing out the string on the Mike London era. An offer from Wisconsin can lead to a flip.
The long term is that the Badgers are still in a spot to land a really good running back. The star pedigree might not be to the extent of Williams -- but among the reasonable shots the Badgers could take, they have a chance to land someone you enjoy toting the rock. Wednesday was a bad day, but there's always a way to go.