Jackson Acker

Sophomore running back Jackson Acker gets a pancake block from offensive lineman Bryce Corning (71) on a 56-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter of the Wildcats’ 35-0 win over Madison West last year at Mansfield Stadium. Acker verbally committed to the Badgers on Sunday.

When Jackson Acker attended the UW-Madison football camp for the first time, it couldn’t have gone any better if he had scripted it.

Acker, a 6 foot, 1 inch, 215-pound sophomore running back from Verona, received a scholarship offer Sunday, June 9, and verbally committed to play football for the Badgers. He is the second recruit in the Class of 2021 to accept an offer from the Badgers, joining offensive tackle JP Benzschawel of Grafton.

Acker said he found out the news in a meeting with UW coach Paul Chryst in his office along with his mother, who is a nurse at UW Hospital and Clinics and attended UW-Madison herself.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, knowing how young I am and how much time I have until college,” Acker said.

Acker rushed for 528 yards and had seven touchdowns last season for a Verona football team that finished 7-3 and displayed his ability as a receiver, with 15 receptions for 152 yards. Acker also is coming off a WIAA Division 1 state runner-up finish in the discus (171 feet, 5 inches).

He was also drawing recruiting interest from Iowa and Illinois.

“I grew up here,” Acker said. “It just feels like the right place.”

At the Badger football camp, it was a blend of Acker’s speed and strength that stood out.

He went through a series of skills tests, running the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and doing 16 reps at 185-pounds on the bench press. Acker also went through football drills with UW running backs coach John Settle.

“I didn’t know if there would be an opportunity,” Acker said. “They must have liked what they saw.”

After finding out the news Sunday, Acker still had three more days at Verona Area High School as a sophomore.

Acker now plans on getting stronger this summer.

“I just need to get in the weight room,” he said. “Knowing that now I’m going to be a college athlete, I need to live up to that.”