November 24, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said on Tuesday that he will return for his senior season in 2016 if his NFL draft projection is third round or worse.

Clement was poised to take over the starting job this year in the Badgers' vaunted running attack after gaining 949 yards and nine touchdowns on 147 carries in 2014.

But this season hasn't turned out as Clement anticipated after he had sports hernia surgery in September.

Clement has played in only three games, rushing for 155 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries.

''Third round, I'll stay for sure,'' Clement said Tuesday night after practice. ''I just think third round is selling yourself short. First and second? Hey, that really doesn't come too often.''

Clement last season backed up Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon, who skipped his senior year to go to the NFL. Clement has also spoken with his former Wisconsin running backs coach, Thomas Hammock about the possibility of leaving early.

''In my mind, there was nothing wrong with having a three-and-out mentality,'' Clement said. ''I told that to my first coach, Coach Hammock, and he asked me if I were to have 1,500-plus, was I going to leave? And I said, `In less than two seconds, I was going to leave.' I was out.''

Clement said his rehabilitation is progressing, but he's still sore and playing at ''80 percent'' potential.

Wisconsin (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) closes the regular season on the road with its annual rivalry game against Minnesota (5-6, 2-5) on Saturday.

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