James White. Montee Ball. Melvin Gordon.
Next in line at “Running Back U” was Corey Clement.
2015 would finally be his time to shine, to be the #1 tailback for the University of Wisconsin.
No more being back-up. No sharing the spotlight. Clement, a junior, would finally be “the guy” for the Badgers.
It was expected he would be another great rusher for a program that throughout the years had some of the best in the country.
Wisconsin had the distinction of having not one, but two, Heisman Trophy winners – both power runners: Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne
The tradition was there and the timing was exactly right, or so we thought, with new Wisconsin Coach Paul Chryst, one of the best offensive play callers in college football.
Now, with the 2015 season almost over, except for the final game – a Bowl game, most likely the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, it has been an almost totally lost season for Clement.
And it’s not certain he will even play in the Bowl game and even more uncertain whether he will return for his senior season.
His numbers this year are something we certainly didn’t expect: 3 games played and 29 carries for 155 yards, most of those numbers coming against a terrible Rutgers team.
First, it was a sports hernia for Clement, which wasn’t known when the Badgers opened the 2015 season against Alabama. That injury and surgery that followed kept Clement on the sideline most of the season…although it often seemed unclear whether he could play or not.
He has also had legal issues stemming from an altercation in November outside his residence which resulted in two disorderly conduct citations…which may have been the reason he did not make the trip to Minnesota for Wisconsin’s final regular season game on November 28.
The defining moment for Clement this season may have been Wisconsin’s final home game on November 21. He did score Wisconsin’s only touchdown in a 13-7 defeat and finished with 24 yards in 10 carries. But with little time remaining and Wisconsin on the Northwestern one yard line, Clement was not in the lineup. Clement said later he wanted to be in and thought he could have gotten one yard for what could have been the winning score.
But like the 2015 season in general, that moment in particular, never happened.
By John Finkler