Chris Pressley # RB
Height: 5-11 Weight: 260 Age: 27
Born: 8/8/1986 Woodbury , NJ
Experience: 5th season
High School: Woodbury HS [NJ]
Pound-for-pound the strongest player on the team, Pressley boasts numerous position records for his performances in the offseason training room. He has put that superb power to great use, developing into one of the most devastating lead blockers in the college game.
With Pressley leading the way, the Wisconsin ground game ranked among the nation's elite running corps. In 2006, the Badgers averaged 200.77 yards per game on the ground. Even though he missed the 2008 season opener with a thumb fracture that required him to play with a cast for close to two months, he paved the way as UW averaged 211.15 yards rushing in his final campaign. No other Big Ten Conference school put together back-to-back 200-plus-yard averages on the ground from 2007-08.
It is strange to see Pressley served as Wisconsin's lead blocker, considering his pedigree as a ball carrier during his days at Woodbury High School. The 262-pound tailback and linebacker was an All-American choice by Prep Star and rated among top 15 players in New Jersey by Super Prep. He was named South Jersey Back of the Year and All-South Jersey after rushing for 1,630 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior.
"Fullback is something that I really like doing," Pressley said. "I love blocking for these guys. They look at me like they want me blocking for them, and I'm going to be out there running right behind them. "I just take it as an honor to block for such a great running back. I got a chance to block for (Brian) Calhoun, and P.J. (Hill), and hopefully I'll be able to block for more running backs in the future."
Pressley was ranked among Tom Lemming's top 25 fullbacks, but also made 101 tackles from his linebacker position. The three-time All-Conference, All-Group I and All-South Jersey choice was a two-time team captain and MVP. He closed out his career with 3,650 rushing yards and 334 tackles.
In addition to football, Pressley lettered in track and wrestling, earning All-Conference honors in track three times. He was a member of the National Honor Society and placed second in the math competition at the Coriell Institute Science Fair.
Education and community involvement have always been of high importance for Pressley. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference selection and recipient of the Big Ten's Sportsmanship Award in 2008. He was a 2008 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee and has been involved in Dr. Seuss Read Across America at Chavez Elementary School; 100 Black Men of Madison back pack giveaway; and has served as a mentor and tutor at Jefferson Middle School.
Pressley spent three weeks in China during the early summer in 2007 as part of an educational trip through the Wisconsin School of Business. He continued to excel in the classroom, as he would accelerate his curriculum, graduating after only three years with a degree in Agricultural Journalism before starting grad school in January, 2008.
Pressley enrolled at Wisconsin in 2004, appearing in the team's first five games. Strangely, he saw his most extensive action as a ball carrier during the first season of his Badgers career. He collected 36 yards on 11 carries before sitting out the second half of the season.
As a sophomore, he started vs. Penn State, Hawaii and Auburn in the Capital One Bowl while appearing in 12 contests. He carried just three times for 5 yards, but had four touchdown-resulting blocks to show for his limited time with the starting unit. Primed to be the full-time starter at fullback in 2006, Pressley suffered a leg injury in fall camp and was granted a medical hardship.
Without Pressley blocking for their ground game, Wisconsin managed to finish just 37th in the country in rushing in 2006, averaging 168.15 yards per game. With Pressley back to reclaim his starting job in 2007, Wisconsin improved its rushing totals to a 200.77-yard average, second in the Big Ten and 21st nationally. The fullback gained 56 yards on eight carries (7.0 avg) that included a touchdown, adding another score on two catches. But it was his bone-jarring blocks that saw him produce 13 touchdown-resulting blocks.
Pressley fractured his right thumb in August camp, missing the 2008 season opener vs. Akron as he underwent surgery to have a pin inserted. He wore a cast on his hand upon his return, and was limited to just three carries for 6 yards. Despite the injury, 15 Wisconsin touchdown runs came from his blocking.