Wisconsin Badgers football alumni are quickly earning a reputation of exceeding expectations. Look no further than Russell Wilson, a surprise to even be picked in the third round of the NFL Draft. He proved to be undervaled at even a midround pick, leading the Seahawks to the Super Bowl this past season.
This year’s Badgers at the NFL Combine look to Wilson as an example, including one of Wilson’s former favorite targets, receiver Jared Abbrederis. He finished his career tied for the all-time Wisconsin record in catches; but draft publications say his lack of blazing speed may limit his prospects.
“There’s guys all over, they say, ‘they can’t do this, they can’t do that,'” Abbrederis said. “Russell [Wilson], we knew what we had, we knew he’d be a great NFL quarterback. I think I can be the same. I’m not going to say I’ll be at Russell’s level. Obviously I’d love to. I definitely see that I can be successful in the NFL.”
Running back James White is another example. He ran for 45 touchdowns in Madison, accumulating over 4,000 rushing yards. His size, listed by Wisconsin as being 5’10, may have some teams shying away. He looks to follow former backfield-mate Montee Ball into NFL success.
“They say that Wisconsin running backs don’t really translate into the NFL,” said White. “I think it’s kind of like a new era, a new breed of running backs coming out of Wisconsin. We want to prove that we can be effective.”