Born: March 14, 1978
Town: Berlin Township, New Jersey
Ronald Dayne Jr. was born March 14, 1978 in Berlin Township. Ron’s parents—Ron Sr. and Brenda—fought often. Ron Sr. had a violent personality and Brenda struggled with drugs. They divorced and Ron went with his sister Onya to live with their uncle, Rob Reid, a minister, in Woodbury.
From an early age, Ron had great foot speed and enormous upper body strength. Although he stopped growing at 5' 10" Ron continued to add body mass without losing his speed. At Overbrook High School, Ron’s unusual physique made him a star on the track and field team. As a junior in 1995 and again as a senior in 1996, he won state titles in shot put and discus. Ron won meet after meet—including the Penn Relays—and was considered for the 1996 Olympic squad.
On the football team, coach Harvey Miller used Ron as a human wrecking ball. He played fullback and tailback for the Rams at 250-plus pounds and was unstoppable. Ron gained 1,566 yards and scored 27 touchdowns as a junior and followed that up with 1,785 yards and 24 TDs as a senior. Ron averaged over 10 yards per carry during his high-school career.
Most ratings services had Ron ranked as the #1 fullback prospect in the country. Some schools thought he might be too big to be an effective Division I runner, but Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez believed he could be a great tailback. Ron liked this idea. He knew a little about the school from other Overbrook players who had played for the Badgers—Keith Jackson, Michael London and Lee DeRamus. He accepted Wisconsin’s scholarship offer and made the starting lineup as a freshman in the fifth game of the 1996 season.