By TOM LEA
MADISON – If there were a photo shoot and storyboard looking for the prototypical Wisconsin football player it would be a safe assumption that former fullback Bradie Ewing would surface among the first people on the to-call list.
He entered the program as a walk-on backup running back out of Richland Center, a quaint community in southwestern Wisconsin. He eventually worked his way to starting fullback and team captain.
He capped his Badger career with back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances and a Senior Bowl invitation, an event that showcases collegiate talent to NFL scouts and coaches.
“It was great,” Ewing told FM 100.5 ESPN’s Badger Hour program Tuesday night. “If anything it was just to reassure that I am able to play with the guys of that kind of caliber and talent. And to be able to reassure myself that I fit in and that I belong at that level.
“(Knowing) I can compete at that level was huge.”
In that game Ewing logged one rush for one yard. He also turned his only reception into a 23-yard gain for the North squad that went on to beat the South, 23-13. Ewing finished his Badger career with seven carries for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
He also tallied 28 receptions, including 20 during his senior season, for 328 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think scouts like my athleticism as a full back,” Ewing said. “Obviously I can do a lot of the things that traditional fullbacks can do as far as lead blocking and that stuff, but I can bring some other stuff as far as being a receiver out of the backfield or even splitting out.”
NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. currently has Ewing listed as his No. 1 fullback prospect in the upcoming 2012 draft. Fullbacks typically go anywhere from fourth round to undrafted when the draft rolls around.
“I think I may have to make my stay in special teams,” Ewing said. “That’s something I’ve done for the last four years. I think my film speaks for itself and then hopefully with this scouting combine this weekend I’ll be able to go in and solidify that with the numbers that I put up.”
Ewing is one of eight former Wisconsin players to receive an invite to the NFL Draft combine in Indianapolis. He’ll have an opportunity to showcase his athleticism in front of professional scouts and general managers in the same stadium his Badger squad knocked off Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten championship game.
“Eight or so guys at the combine is just a snippet of our program,” Ewing said. “I think it speaks volumes to the type of coaches we have and them putting us in positions to succeed. I think it also speaks volumes to the type of kids they’re recruiting. I think they’re recruiting good character kids that work hard and continue to progress through the program.
“That’s what Wisconsin football is all about.”
Ewing, set for marriage in April, is one of a long line of Badger walk-ons that have gone on to have success throughout their college career. Guys like Jim Leonhard, J.J. Watt and Chris Maragos have gone on to have success at the next level.
The former Richland Center native hopes to follow suit.
“To have guys like that in a program where they believe in their walk-ons and give walk-ons opportunities is incredible,” Ewing said. “I definitely want to carry that forward and carry that throughout the program.”