No head coach? No problem.
The Wisconsin Badgers picked up an important pledge on Thursday when South Oak Cliff (Texas) running back Jordan Stevenson officially announced his commitment via Twitter:
It's office I'm now a badger RBU#2 I'm blessed— Jordanstevenson (@Jordanstevie2) December 11, 2014
Stevenson had reopened his recruitment on Wednesday when he decommitted from the Texas Longhorns. Speculation about his destination immediately pointed to the Badgers, a school that he officially visited back in September and declared his leader after ending his pledge to Texas.
However, the Wednesday afternoon announcement that head coach Gary Andersen was leaving for the same position at Oregon State put Stevenson's potential commitment to Wisconsin in jeopardy.
Even without a head coach in place, the speedy back went ahead and ended his recruitment anyway.
A consensus four-star prospect, the 5'8, 185-pounder is ranked as the No. 209 player nationally, the No. 18 running back, and the No. 30 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
When he originally committed, he also reported offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisville, Ohio State, SMU, UCLA and Utah State.
In an extremely talented group of Texas running backs for the 2015 class, Stevenson may be the fastest -- he ran a laser-time 4.37 40 at the Dallas NFTC in 2013, a number that matched Alabama cornerback signee Tony Brown, an elite track athlete.
Stevenson followed up that impressive testing performance by taking advantage of his move from Dallas Skyline to South Oak Cliff, building on a modest sophomore season that saw him gain almost 900 yards on fewer than 100 carries by gaining nearly 2,000 yards on 216 carries and scoring 18 touchdowns as a junior. As a senior he was even more productive, gaining more than 2,500 yards and 31 touchdowns.
And though he's considered a pure running back despite standing shorter than 5'9, Stevenson also added 18 receptions for 348 yards and two more touchdowns as a junior.
On film, Stephenson has visible acceleration from a standstill and a low center of gravity aided by his height and willingness to get behind his pads. As a result, there's not much surface area to tackle him -- he doesn't project as a power back in college, but he should prove difficult to bring down for those reasons.
And despite the fact that he has elite elusiveness because of his stop-start ability, lateral jump cut ability and a spin move that may not translate to college, Stevenson is willing to press to hole hard when available and not waste any time moving laterally because he understands that his speed makes him nearly impossible to catch in the open field.
When a defender does have enough of an angle to catch Stevenson, he has the ability to fake the inside move to produce space down the sideline, a critical skill for a running back to turn long gains into touchdowns. He can do the same thing with his hesitation move.
So while Stevenson doesn't have the ideal build to break tackles at the next level, his speed and elusiveness should give him the opportunity to make some big plays.
The Badgers now have 25 pledges in a class that ranks No. 24 nationally and No. 3 in the Big Ten, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Stevenson is their highest-rated commit.