Four-star 2016 North Carolina (New Stanly) running back Antonio Williams has named Wisconsin his favorite. As you can see above, the Badgers currently lead Duke, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and North Carolina for the 5'10, 210-pound tailback. 247sports' composite rankings consider Williams the No. 9 running back for 2016 and the No. 119 player overall. As Scout.com's Brice Marich relays, Williams has rushed for 1,450 yards and 16 touchdowns through his first five games this season.
One final sign of Wisconsin's good fortune here: Williams' Twitter header image is a side-by-side of himself, Melvin Gordon and Montee ball.
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) running back Jordan Scarlett was one of a few big visitors to Madison this weekend, though as Scout.com reports, he won't be talking about his trip -- or any others. The reason? Since he's already a Miami commit, he's doing it out of respect to head coach Al Golden and the Hurricanes' staff. Perhaps that's a strong sign of his intentions to remain committed to Miami, but either way, that's a pretty impressive sign of respect from a high school recruit.
Also of note to Wisconsin fans:
Scarlett says Scarlett's teammate, cornerback Rashard Causey, says Scarlett "had more fun than I did" on his UW visit this weekend. Causey is a soft Florida Atlantic recruit, and many consider him Wisconsin's top remaining cornerback target. For what it's worth, 247sports' Crystal Ball predictions lean 40 percent Miami and 40 percent Wisconsin for him.
Wisconsin's Oct. 11 game vs. Illinois at Camp Randall Stadium will kick off at 11 a.m. CT, the Big Ten announced on Monday. The game will air on ESPN2.
Wisconsin has won its last four games against Illinois, two each in Madison and Champaign. The Badgers also hold a 37-36 advantage all-time against the Illini. The weekend could be a big one for the Badgers: three-star Florida linebacker Jordan Griffin is expected to make his official visit to Madison and then later announce his college decision. Griffin was initially scheduled to visit this weekend for the South Florida game, but his travel plans were altered by the air traffic control tower fire at O'Hare International Airport.
This is exactly what Jim Delany wanted.
Maybe not necessarily Derek Jeter soaring in celebration after his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium resulted in a game-winning single Thursday night -- though Delany very well could've been pulling for Ol' Jeets (in full disclosure, I, as a lifelong Yankees fan, was doing just that).
No, instead look at the bottom portion of the photo. It's rather hard to miss, that strip of Big Ten logos ranging from Illinois to Wisconsin. That's prime marketing, especially since you know we'll be seeing this photo for years to come.
It's hardly the most significant takeaway from Thursday night, but it's certainly fascinating considering how much effort we've all put into attacking/defending/whatever-ing the conference's East Coast expansion (h/t @Rachel_Nichols).
Turns out Wisconsin fans will have one less year of Alex Erickson than they likely expected. As Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, UW athletic communications had mistakenly been listing the wide receiver as a redshirt sophomore. Erickson is actually a redshirt junior because he enrolled at UW in the fall of 2011. Though he didn't participate in athletics until joining the football team as a walk-on in the spring of 2012, his five-year eligibility window began in the fall. So in summation, the 2015 season will be his last at UW.
As Potrykus reports, the issue stems from the athletic communications office not realizing/knowing Erickson enrolled in the fall of 2011. Erickson and the coaching staff did, however, so it's not like they're freaking out about having a new hole at wide receiver.
Through three games this season, Erickson has emerged as Wisconsin's only consistent receiving threat from the group of wideouts. He's caught a team-high 15 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown so far; no other Wisconsin wide receiver has caught more than one pass.
Wisconsin's expected to have a fairly big recruiting weekend coming up, especially at running back. Four-star Fort Lauderdale (St. Thomas Aquinas), Florida, recruit Jordan Scarlett is perhaps the most notable, and he'll officially be on campus this weekend. Scarlett flipped from Florida Atlantic to Miami in July, but his recruitment has remained opened throughout. A strong impression by Wisconsin this weekend -- Montee Ball is expected to be in town -- could give the Badgers their second running back commit for 2015 and strengthen their pipeline to St. Thomas Aquinas.
Here's another 2015 in-state target Wisconsin fans should keep an eye on: Oak Creek safety Elijah Strong. As BadgerNation reports, Strong has a preferred walk-on offer from the Badgers and is highly interested in playing in Madison, where he visited last weekend for the Bowling Green game. You can see his Hudl highlights right here; those interception clips show an athlete eager to go up and catch a ball, and one able to shed a few would-be tacklers on the return. That first tackle right around the 50-second mark is also a pretty nasty hit.
Aside from Wisconsin's interest, Strong also has an offer from Air Force and a visit planned there and to Iowa State. Badger247 also reports that Minnesota, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan are interested as well. Per BadgerNation, Strong plans to wait until the end of the season before committing.
Here's the truest indicator of Melvin Gordon's big-play ability: he's now tied for the all-time FBS lead in average yards per carry at 8.26. Army legend Glenn Davis initially set the record in his 1944-46 playing days. As Bruce Feldman says above, Georgia's Todd Gurley is next in line -- nearly 2 yards per carry behind Gordon.
Well would you look at that. I was playing around with some random shapes and letters and I happened to coincidentally piece this lovely image together. What's that? You want to buy a t-shirt with this logo on it? Well, that wouldn't be kosher from a copyright standpoint, so you can't. You'd better not copy this image and get one printed yourself. That would be wrong. [wags finger at you admonishingly] http://imgur.com/qpzzQVg
USA TODAY has released new ratings of the best college football stadiums. We see rankings like this all the time, but this one has an interesting twist. College Football Fan Index is a "cumulative data-based ranking." The video atop the article has more explanation, but here's what we all care about -- Camp Randall Stadium is ranked 10th. Here's what USA TODAY said:
"Named for former Wisconsin governor Alexander W. Randall, the Badgers’ 97-year-old home field sits on land on which troops trained during the Civil War. When "Jump Around" is played between the third and fourth quarters of every home game, the 80,321-seat stadium shakes."
Camp Randall is the fourth and last Big Ten stadium on the list; the others are Ohio Stadium (No. 3), Michigan Stadium (No. 4) and Beaver Stadium (No. 7). The Rose Bowl is No. 1.