During the summer doldrums of sports news, many college football fans are starved for news and information regarding their favorite teams.
With that in mind, we at B5Q have decided to take a more detailed look at each walk-on contributor and scholarship player on the Wisconsin Badgers football roster for 2020 in a running feature, our 2020 returnee profiles.
Each weekday we will breakdown one player on the football roster to look back at their recruiting process, their career as a Badger to this juncture and lastly preview their potential contribution to the team in 2020 and beyond.
Up today, Nakia Watson.
Name: Nakia Watson
Position: running back
2020 eligibility: redshirt sophomore
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 Composite 3-star, No. 21 running back, Austin, Texas.
2018 recruitment: An under the radar find for the Wisconsin coaching staff, Nakia Watson earned an offer from Wisconsin in May of his junior year. With no other major Power Five offer to choose from, Watson opted to commit to Wisconsin in June over other offers from Texas State, Nevada, Bowling Green, Harvard, North Texas, Toledo and Ohio. At the time of his commitment he was a lower rated three-star prospect, but he burst onto the scene as a senior with nearly 2,000 yards rushing and 33 total touchdowns in high level Texas state football. In the final class rankings, Watson finished as a high three-star across most services.
Career statistics: 74 carries, 331 yards rushing, 4.5 yards per carry, two touchdowns.
2019 statistics: 74 carries, 331 yards rushing, 4.5 yards per carry, two touchdowns.
Player overview: A bruising tailback that always falls forward, Watson saw playing time as a freshman after a redshirt season at Wisconsin. At 6-foot and around 230 pounds, he displays the size necessary to withstand the pounding of the Big Ten. In limited action, Watson has flashed his combination of strength, speed, and quickness running inside as a secondary tailback option, and on special teams.
He has drawn heavy praise by running backs coach John Settle, and Jonathan Taylor, in his time on campus, and the sophomore ball carrier is poised to see an increased role next season. I remember watching him run over Leo Chenal in a one-on-one drill in fall camp, and it gave a glimpse of what he could bring to the table in an expanded rushing role.
Best case scenario for 2020: After getting his feet wet last season with finite touches, Watson breaks through as the primary running back in 2020. The sophomore goes on to rush for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns to carry on a strong tradition of excellence at the position. He puts little doubt that he can shoulder the load as a feature back, and also demonstrates an ability to help out in the passing game, as well, at times.
Likely role on team in 2020: With Jonathan Taylor off to run wild with the Indianapolis Colts, Watson is the most likely player to take on the lion’s share of the early down carries for the Badgers. He will undoubtedly have competition for carries, with Garrett Groshek, Isaac Guerendo, Julius Davis and Jalen Berger all vying for playing time as well. Groshek should still dominate third down snaps, but Watson has the inside track for a heavy dose of touches.