Syndication: Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, he announced on social media Tuesday. The decision comes after after three seasons in Madison, Wisconsin. 

The junior from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, was largely recruited as a linebacker out of high school, but quickly found his way to starting running back as a freshman. He joined Ron Dayne, James White and Jonathan Taylor as one of only three freshman to rush for 1,000 yards at Wisconsin. 

In three seasons, Allen rushed for 3,494 yards and 35 touchdowns on just 597 carries, good enough for 5.9 yards per attempt. He posted more than 1,100 yards from scrimmage in each of his three seasons at Wisconsin. 

However, Allen's productivity slipped in coach Luke Fickell's first season. Fickell brought in a more varied Air Raid attack under offensive coordinator Phil Longo and Allen failed to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career. His 181 carries in 11 games ranked as his lowest ever mark. 

The Badgers reached bowl eligibility at 7-5 under first-year coach Fickell. Allen has not clarified whether he plans to participate in a potential bowl game. 

Allen's draft stock

The 2024 CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings don't project any first-round running backs, but Allen ranks as the top prospect on the board, edging out Ohio State's TreVeyon Henderson and Clemson's Will Shipley. At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, Allen boasts a physical frame with the muscle to take on an all-purpose role at the next level. While Allen did not thrive in Longo's system, he did catch a career-high 28 passes. That varied skillset could prove important when projecting his place in the NFL

Impact on Wisconsin

Wisconsin is starting over at running back after Allen's departure. Senior Chaz Mellusi added 307 yards rushing in 2023, but is expected to graduate after five seasons. That leaves sophomore Jackson Acker and freshman Cade Yacamelli as the next two backs in line. The pair combined for 87 carries for 360 yards in their first major appearances. The Badgers also have another top running back joining in the Class of 2024 -- Top247 running back Dilin Jones from Olney, Maryland

That said, the loss of Allen could also dramatically impact the structure of the offense, which has already shifted since Longo took over. Wisconsin brought in three quarterbacks and four wide receivers last offseason, but still limped out to just 207 passing yards per game, ranking No. 87 in the country in the category. Fickell will have to balance both the passing and rushing components as he moves into Year 2 at Wisconsin.