Whitaker hopes to be Indiana’s big back

Xavier Whitaker knows something about big, powerful running backs. As a native of the Milwaukee suburb Brookfield, he’s had a chance to watch Wisconsin football closely throughout his life.

Indiana fans who were subjected to a close viewing of the Hoosiers’ 55-20 loss to the Badgers last year know how effective the duo of P.J. Hill and John Clay were. Neither running back was afraid of carrying a little bit of weight (both were about 235 pounds.) Neither running back could be stopped that day (Hill ran 19 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns, Clay ran 19 times for 112 yards and one score.)

Whitaker — who stands 6-foot-2, weighs 205 pounds and considers himself an inside runner — decided Sunday night that he could live up to the comparison he hears most often (that he runs like Clay, who is also 6-foot-2) by playing for Indiana.

“The coaching staff told me the program is on the rise,” he said. “And that part of what’s going to get them there is having big, powerful backs. That’s where I hope to fit in.”

According to Scout.com, Whitaker is a three-star prospect and the No. 71 running back in his class. Rivals.com awards him no stars and does not rank him.

Whitaker said the Indiana coaching staff said it will try him at running back but could move him to safety. He will be playing a bit of everything for his Brookfield Central team this year, as it shifts to a wildcat-based offense centered around him and Jeff Lewis (another 6-foot-2, 200-plus pound back Indiana has offered.) Whitaker expects to line up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and safety.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada handled Whitaker’s recruiting, bringing  him to campus for the first time Saturday and showing him the stadium expansion and around campus. Whitaker is the fifth player to verbally commit to the class of 2010, and the fourth to do so since last Thursday.

Whitaker also has scholarship offers from Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Illinois State. He’s also heard from more prestigious schools — and will continue to do so. The Wisconsin coaching staff reached his high school coach Monday morning and eventually ended up speaking to Whitaker and urging him to visit Madison and meet with them.

Whitaker rushed for 872 yards and 12 touchdowns on 116 carries last season.

He cannot sign a letter-of-intent until February.


  1. Just so people know, he hasn’t been “rated” as a 0-star by Rivals. It just means he hasn’t (like a ton of other prospects) been evaluated.

  2. 55-20 against Wisconsin last year? I think that that is the score against Wisconsin *every* year. There isn’t a better program for exposing our inferiority than the Badgers.

  3. Husky, I remember Randle Els senior year IU went to Wisky and smacked them around! Check it out. I will admit that other than that game it does seem like IU gets killed by them every year.

  4. OH, and the comeback by Hamden a few years back in Bloomington, I forgot about it. Wisky was ranked! Worst fans I have ever experienced!

  5. Jimmy,

    You’re right. That’s my bad. I should have been more specific on that.

    It’s surprising that Rivals hasn’t gotten around to those guys, as there are a few other talented prospects on that team, too (including one who has committed to Wisconsin.)

  6. Its no big deal. I understood what you meant, but I was anticipating that someone would come on here and complain about his ranking.

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