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Wisconsin football recruiting: Badgers could land Chris James; C.J. Freeman to decide

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Talk of backs of both the running and corner phylum.

Pitt running back Chris James plans to transfer -- possibly to Wisconsin?
Pitt running back Chris James plans to transfer -- possibly to Wisconsin?
Student Sports

So we are now officially in the dead period. Face-to-face contact cannot be made between prospects and coaches, and the expectations for news will be shrunk until Jan. 14. After that, it's the mad push until National Signing Day.

There still is news to be had between now and that recently dreadful time that is January on the trail. To start, we're about to pass through an important turning point at a position of need.

C.J. Freeman to decide Tuesday

The first of the prospects the Badgers made initial overtures to at running back post-Antonio Williams, three-star prospect from Greensboro, N.C., C.J. Freeman has set up his announcement for Tuesday. As it stands, the Badgers are definitely one of the two teams who are most expected to land Freeman.

There is also reason to believe that the South Carolina commit will end up staying in South Carolina. For one, the Gamecocks got closing-ups. There's a higher degree of difficulty in getting the flip when the home school gets to make the final pitch. Also, for whatever Will Muschamp is on the field, he's a heck of a recruiter. And he gave the full-court press to Freeman even before he came for his visit.

So where do the Badgers go if Freeman doesn't flip? Well, we'll find out quickly about the Badgers' need to make new offers as Hubbard, Ohio, four-star and likely Michigan State commit George Hill will announce on Friday. Kyle Porter waited until the season ended before the three-star from Katy, Texas, decided to start his process. He'll be a January visit. A hint of potential hope for the Badgers comes with McKeesport, Pa., three-star athlete Khaleke Hudson, as he's set to visit on the final weekend ($) before national signing day.

They do have the options to offer Illinois commitment Kentrail Moran and Florida International commitment Khalil Herbert. These are both backs with good Hudl profiles whom the Badgers could land if and when they offer. Interestingly, Moran is hundredths away from jumping Kyle Porter on the 247Sports composite score rankings. If the Badgers do have to throw out an offer for Moran, he's a really strong plan B.

Chris James to transfer -- are the Badgers favorites?

Do you remember the fall of 2013? I do. Everybody loved Gary Andersen and the magic he was making on the recruiting trail. There was a running back out of Niles, Ill., who really liked what Wisconsin was doing in the running game, but the Badgers had him lower on their board than one would assume, and the prospect ended up going to Pittsburgh.

Two years later with a crowded situation in Pitt's backfield, Chris James finds himself the odd man out. With plans to transfer, expectations are the Badgers would be favorites here.

While James was supplanted by redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison and true freshman Darrin Hall this season, he has a career 4.82 yards per carry and was impressive as a true freshman backing up James Conner in 2014. If it happens, James would have to face down Taiwan Deal and the clearly super impressive prospects the Badgers will land for the classes of 2016 and 2017, but at the very least James has shown he can be productive when he sees the field and could be a good option to carry the load.

Patrice Rene sets up more official visits

Arguably the top cornerback prospect on the board for the Badgers, the three-star prospect from Alexandria, Va., is setting up to make a decision close to National Signing Day by announcing on Twitter that he is going on official visits to North Carolina on Jan. 15 and Rutgers on Jan. 29.

When you have a Rutgers commit that has his home school get closing-ups, that's not a good sign. With that said, the Badgers aren't going to go out without a fight, going international to let the Canadian-born Rene know how interested they are.

Badgers make big move for cornerback

In a week, the Badgers went from hovering around a sleeper cornerback to earning a potential flip after offering Ft. Lauderdale (St. Thomas Aquinas) Fla., three-star cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams on Dec. 5. He was the lone uncommitted prospect on campus for the Badgers this weekend, and this is a visit he was very happy with.

As it stands, we're currently in the waiting game. Right now, 100 percent of the crystal balls for Carriere-Williams are Wisconsin's. He's got one of those tremendous Hudl profiles, too -- he's great in coverage and he's a strong open-field tackler as well. He may be a late look from Wisconsin, but if the Badgers land him, he's got high upside.