Take Two: Will Berger continue Jersey-to-Wisconsin tradition?

Adam Gorney, Mike Farrell, Adam Friedman, Rivals.com
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Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

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Wisconsin has had tremendous success recruiting running backs from New Jersey with Ron Dayne, Corey Clement and now Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, and this past weekend another one was on campus.

Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep standout Jalen Berger checked out the Badgers as the Big Ten power is a serious contender in his recruitment.

Berger is the top-rated prospect in the state of New Jersey and the sixth-best running back nationally in an absolutely loaded position group this recruiting cycle.

Penn State and Rutgers have been more consistently coming after him over the last year or so and it will be interesting to see what Berger thinks of the Scarlet Knights, especially if Greg Schiano is hired as coach. Michigan has also been high on his list among others.

But Wisconsin has tremendous running back tradition, it has developed elite players at that position from New Jersey and it’s no secret that coach Paul Chryst wants to run the ball all the time.

Can Wisconsin dip back into Jersey to land Berger’s commitment or are Penn State, Rutgers and other teams ahead at this point?

FIRST TAKE: Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic analyst

“Wisconsin has a great track record with running backs from New Jersey. Berger is a little different than the ones in the past. He’s not a back who’s going to pound the rock necessarily. He’s a much better receiver than a pure running back and I’m not sure that fits into the Wisconsin offense all that well.

“He’s planning a trip to UCLA. Penn State and Rutgers remain the schools most involved so far but he hasn’t set up official visits just yet. He’s planning to commit at the All-American Bowl and it doesn’t appear he’s going to sign in the early period, so that time between when he commits and National Signing Day in February could prove to be eventful for him. He’s going to wait it out and be patient so I don’t think he’s going to be rushed by anybody. Wisconsin is a serious contender but I’d say others are slightly ahead.”

SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, National recruiting director

“Wisconsin would definitely make sense. Dayne, Clement and Taylor are from New Jersey. They’ve got a really good tradition of running backs from that state. I’m sure they sold him on that and told him how he could be the next guy. He’s not a big, physical pounder like those guys but they can still make it work in that offense.

“He’s waiting to see who Rutgers hires. If they do hire Schiano, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him stay home because Schiano does a great job recruiting New Jersey. Penn State is also a great option but it doesn’t sound like Penn State is pushing that hard. He’s going to wait and see, but Wisconsin would definitely be a fit.”

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