Wisconsin football utilizes fullbacks more than any other Power 5 program, making an off-season position change for redshirt freshman Jackson Acker a no-brainer.
Madison, Wis.- Coming out of high school, Verona, Wisconsin, native Jackson Acker was valued by the Badgers coaching staff because of his unique blend of size and athletic ability.
Per the 247Sports Composite, Acker was the No. 565 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting class, the No. 38 ATH in the country, and the No. 5 player in Wisconsin.
A standout at Verona Area High School, the former three-star athlete’s film showed a player with patience as a runner, the ability to break tackles, and still have enough juice to break off the occasional big run.
Acker would begin his career at UW as a running back, appearing in two games as a true freshman, totaling 11 snaps. He finished the season with six carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.
— Badger Film Clips (@Badgers_Film) August 16, 2022
Making the switch
Now, in year two, the Wisconsin coaching staff has bigger plans for the sophomore, moving Acker to fullback to get him onto the field and better use his athleticism.
“He’s a really talented athlete and certainly has good size, good strength, speed, and he’s got power,” coach Chryst explained during his media availability. “He’s young right now, but I think he’s a guy that can truly keep developing and become a really good football player. He’s a good player, and you try to find a way to have spots for all your good players.”
During the offseason, Acker reportedly added nine pounds and currently weighs 238-pounds to handle the physicality of his new position better.
Per Pro Football Focus, Acker received a 69.8 run-blocking grade, the sixth highest among non-offensive linemen for the Badgers last season.
Despite fullbacks becoming less common in college football, John Chenal, last season’s starter, played 319 snaps, according to PFF – which was the most among Power 5 fullbacks.
With his size and speed, Acker makes for a well above-average athlete at fullback, giving Wisconsin the flexibility to get creative with him on offense. His versatility at fullback reminds me of Derek Watt and Alec Ingold, who the Badgers weaponized as both runners and in the passing game.
In short, I don’t think Wisconsin made this move to use him exclusively as a blocker; they view him as a player that can add new wrinkles to the offense.
Ackers selfless mindset and ability to be multiple is something that the UW coaching staff certainly holds in high regard and played a significant role in the urgency to get him onto the field in 2022.
Rest assured, the Wisconsin football tradition of outstanding fullback play will continue.
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