Northland Pines star may get UW playing time

MADISON, Wis. – Former Northland Pines High School star Austin Ramesh could be in line for extensive action when No. 21 Wisconsin faces Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

With starting fullback Derek Watt sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Badgers are weighing Derek Straus (6, 235), a redshirt sophomore, or Ramesh (6-1, 235) for the position.

Ramesh, a true freshman, did not play in the opener against UMass and still could redshirt, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“He’s (Ramesh) got to prove that he understands what college football is all about,” said UW running backs coach Thomas Hammock. “It ain’t just about going in there and hitting somebody and falling off.

“Straus has been with me two years now. He is a fighter. He is a scrapper. We’ll have a healthy competition and see what happens on Saturday.”

Ramesh, from Land O’ Lakes, initially planned to delay enrolling until January. An injury in the backfield changed that plan.

“A redshirt is a nice thing to have but for the team I have to get ready if they need me,” Ramesh told the JournalSentinel. “This could be one of the only opportunities for me to play this year. Who knows?

“I feel I am big enough. Obviously you can always get stronger and faster but right now it is about the mind, how you know the plays and your confidence. Confidence has got to be the biggest thing. I’m trying to build that up right now.”

Ramesh, a standout running back and linebacker in high school, met West Iron County in West PAC play. His career totals at the Eagle River school include 5,939 rushing yards, which is third all-time in the state of Wisconsin, 60 rushing touchdowns, 9.4 yards per carry and 169.7 rushing yards per game.

His high school coaches were Eric Swanson (Goodman) and Jacob Husing (Iron Mountain).