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Badgers make splash at US Army All-American Bowl with Jalen Berger commitment

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Wisconsin snags a commitment from New Jersey four-star running back Jalen Berger.

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

Wisconsin fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The Wisconsin Badgers football team has secured a verbal commitment from a running back in the 2020 class.

Taking part in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, Jalen Berger announced his long awaited commitment during the contest. In the end, Berger donned a Wisconsin hat, choosing the Badgers out of a top five including Rutgers, UCLA, LSU and Penn State.

Hailing from powerhouse Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, Berger is a high four-star recruit who held other offers from Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon and a host of other Power Five teams. He is just the latest in a thread of stud tailbacks from the Garden State to commit to the Badgers since Ron Dayne burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s. Berger will follow the steps of Dayne, Anthony Davis, Corey Clement, and most recently Jonathan Taylor, to come from New Jersey and opt to run behind the Wisconsin offensive line.

After taking an official visit to Madison back in early November, Berger later took an additional visit to UCLA in December. After Greg Schiano was hired by Rutgers, many assumed the prep standout would potentially stay home given his strong relationship with the Rutgers staff and proximity. But nonetheless, the running back tradition and academic opportunities at Wisconsin were too good to pass up.

Rankings

  • 247 Composite: 4 stars; grade: .9494; No. 109 player in the nation; No. 11 RB; No. 2 NJ
  • 247 Sports: 4 stars; grade: 91; No. 200 player in the nation; No. 19 RB; No. 6 NJ
  • Rivals: 4 stars; 6.0 rating; No. 39 player in the nation; No. 3 APB; No. 1 NJ
  • ESPN: 4 stars; Grade: 83; NO. 183 player in the nation; No. 13 RB; No. 25 Regional; No. 5 NJ

Video highlights

  • Senior season: 897 yards rushing, 7.7 yards per carry, 321 yards receiving, 17 total touchdowns (MaxPreps).

Junior season:

Impact

This was a big one. Berger represents the second highest ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class behind only Trey Wedig according to 247 Sports, and the highest overall player according to Rivals. His commitment propels the class as a whole into the top 25 of 247 team rankings, and represents the highest ranked class in the internet era for Wisconsin. Ironically, the 2020 class overtook the 2019 class, giving Wisconsin a pair of strong recruiting classes to build upon moving forward.

At six-foot and 205 pounds, Berger has nice size for the running back position, and boasts a verified 4.6 second 40-yard dash time as of last year. Don Bosco Prep utilizes multiple ball carriers in their offense as well, so Berger will enter college with a lot of tread on his legs for a Wisconsin offense that generally runs the ball a ton.

Berger will likely be used as not only a tailback, but also as a slot receiving threat given his skill set. His ability to catch the ball and make people miss in space will be a welcomed addition, as he is more of an all-purpose back in the mold of what NFL teams have steered toward the past five years or so. A powerful and fluid athlete, he will no doubt be a strong asset in the backfield for coach John Settle and company.

With Jonathan Taylor leaving for the NFL Draft by all accounts, Berger will have an opportunity to immediately fight for carries as a freshman come fall. Nakia Watson, Julius Davis, Garrett Groshek, Isaac Guerendo and others will make his path tough, but overall Berger’s commitment is vital for the continued success of the Wisconsin offense.