The countdown rolls on here at the B1G Time.
The man slotted as at the No.15 spot, may not have the lengthy list of superlatives that others on this list enjoy, but he never fails to impress on the eye test. While he could likely start in most backfields across the nation, he has played second fiddle for the majority of his college career. He may not have been the most heralded back in Wisconsin, but he has continued to be productive. He was dazzling as a freshman and now, at the dawn of his senior season, he has a chance to bring his career full-circle as the go-to guy in Madison.
No.15: James White (RB,Wisconsin)
2012 Stats/Honors: 125 rushes, 840 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns. Eight receptions, 132 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown.
What makes him worthy: There are few instances of guys as talented as White going unnoticed. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native posted 1,052 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in his inaugural campaign en route to being named a consensus Big Ten Freshman of the Year. However, for the latter part of his career, White has simply been one part of a three-headed monster at tailback. Such is life at the University of Wisconsin. During the early part of his tenure at UW, he was the change-of-pace guy behind, then, primary back John Clay. His sophomore season saw a man by the name of Montee Ball burst onto the scene and quickly emerge as the No.1 tailback. Once Clay (prematurely) left for the NFL Draft, it seemed as though White would have a chance to gain a more prominent role in the offense once again. But he continued to seemingly live in Ball’s shadow. 2012 brought Melvin Gordon, an extremely talented, homegrown, product to once again complete the trio and force White the verge of the fringe.
Yet White has continued to quietly produce. He comes into 2013 as the NCAA’s second leading active rusher despite the fact that he has made only two starts in his collegiate career. It’s scary to consider that White has probably never been the most talented back on the roster while in Madison. That is likely to be the case again this year. However, it is his athleticism and versatility that continues to get him reps. The Badgers have employed three different offensive coordinator’s during White’s college days and, because of his natural ability, none of them could leave him out of their offense.
Paul Chryst saw a player with vision who had the physicality to run between the tackles while possessing the agility to bounce it outside. 2012 OC Matt Canada saw a pure athlete who was worthy of having his own wrinkles in the offense, and White executed them to a T. Though White was a healthy scratch from the Badgers’ spring game, one can only imagine that new head coach Gary Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig are enjoying have a flexible player such as White on the roster.
If White stays healthy, all signs are pointing to a big season. He’s an experienced, multi-faceted player who is playing under some innovative offensive minds who are going to get him touches. The fact that he will be running behind, what has historically been, one the largest offensive lines in the nations doesn’t hurt, either.