Four Wisconsin Badgers seniors who have exhausted their eligibility, as well as two juniors who have chosen to forego their senior seasons in Madison to enter the draft, were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Offensive players include running backs Corey Clement, Dare Ogubowale and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
Clement, a former four-star recruit, rushed for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and 3,092 yards and 36 touchdowns over his four years in Madison. After getting some spot duty during his true freshman campaign, it was in 2014 when Clement burst onto the scene, rushing for 949 yards as a backup to Melvin Gordon. In 2015, a sports hernia issue along with other off-field problems slowed Clement, but he regained his form in 2016, finishing his Badger career strongly.
Ogunbowale, a former walk-on cornerback from Milwaukee, was switched to running back during his sophomore campaign and never looked back, rushing for 506 yards and five touchdowns during his final season, along with 24 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown. Over his three years on offense, he rushed for 1,518 yards and 13 touchdowns with 60 catches for 507 yards and two touchdowns.
Ramczyk has one of the oddest backstories in this draft and is certainly the most unique in this group of entrants from Wisconsin. Offered by Paul Chryst after taking the Pittsburgh job, Ramczyk decided to remain close to home, turning down the scholarship offer and the preferred walk-on spot offered by then-head coach Gary Andersen. Enter Paul Chryst at Wisconsin, book-ending a two-year stint at UW-Stevens Point and leading to an All-American season in his only season as a Division I player. Due to a hip injury, Ramczyk won’t workout at the combine, but he’s likely locked in as one of the top tackles selected in this weak class.
Defensively, the three players are outside linebackers Vince Biegel and T.J. Watt, and cornerback Sojourn Shelton.
Biegel, a former four-star recruit out of Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School, chose Wisconsin over BYU and other offers. A three-year starter for Wisconsin, Biegel’s athleticism was unleashed by defensive coordinators Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox. Biegel had a solid senior season, although he missed two huge games due to injury (at Michigan, vs. Ohio State). Biegel ended 2016 with four sacks and 44 tackles, and his Badger career with 19.5 sacks. The attention he drew was a major reason for another player of this group’s success.
T.J. Watt—yes, of that family—really burst onto the scene in 2016 after being a rotational piece in 2015. In his first year as a starter, Watt ended up with 73 tackles, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. After some knee injuries cost him a couple of early seasons at UW as a tight end, Watt chose to enter the 2017 NFL draft as a fourth-year junior and will be the third Watt brother to be in the NFL in 2017.
Sojourn Shelton, though diminutive in size, couldn’t have had a bigger impact on the Badgers’ secondary over the past four seasons. A four-year starter, Shelton ends his Wisconsin career with nine interceptions, four of them in 2016. Constantly tasked with covering opposing teams’ best receivers, Shelton never backed down and was an integral part of the Badgers’ success defensively over the past four seasons.