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Why Wisconsin Football is Excited to Have Chez Mellusi Back at RB

Wisconsin football coaches are happy to have Chez Mellusi back in 2024.



Wisconsin Badgers football running back Chez Mellusi
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) runs the ball during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers offense had its fair share of struggles in the first year of the air raid offense. However, one of the Wisconsin football team’s bright spots in Phil Longo’s system was running back Chez Mellusi until he went down with a season-ending injury against Purdue

With every passing game, Mellusi looked like a perfect fit for the spread offense and offered a necessary complement to Braelon Allen. 

In four games, the Florida native carried the ball 51 times for 307 rushing yards and four touchdowns while chipping in three catches for 12 yards. He finished with seven carries of 10+ yards and averaged 3.12 yards per carry after first contact and 6.0 YPC overall. 

Mellusi’s biggest play came in the season opener against Buffalo when he ripped off an 89-yard run that went for a touchdown and opened up the game. 

The Badgers’ backfield missed his elusive one-cut running style in the ladder half of the season. Instead, it rotated in less experienced options like Jackson Acker and Cade Yacamelli, who willed in admirably but didn’t provide the same change of pace Wisconsin football had with Mellusi. Depth was an issue at tailback. 

On National Signing Day, after officially having all three of its talented running back recruits put pen to paper, Wisconsin coaches announced that Mellusi would be using the medical redshirt available and returning to the program in 2024 for one last ride. 

Wisconsin Football Has Big Plans for Chez Mellusi at RB

Wisconsin Badgers Football running back Chez Mellusi

Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) during the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When meeting with reporters down in Tampa, Wisconsin Badgers’ offensive coordinator Phil Longo talked with reporters about several topics, including what it means to get Chez Mellusi back next season. 

“Chez is obviously, as we all know, one of our most explosive players,” Longo said. “He fits a system that creates some space, so we are elated to have him back, can’t wait to see him back out on the field, happy that he’s returning.”

Longo also noted that Mellsi put himself in a position to be an offensive focal point before his injury, a role he thinks the sixth-year senior could hold for the Wisconsin football team in 2024. 

“Not only does he [Mellusi] bring the explosive play on the field, but he was heading towards being one of those two or three premier leaders on the offensive side before he got hurt,” Longo stated. “I don’t think that will change next year. I think he’s intending to be one of the leaders on our team. We’re going to need him to be, and I think that’s kind of where things are going right now.”

With Braleon Allen declaring the NFL Draft, the Badgers will return Jackson Acker, Cade Yacamelli, and Nate White next season. They’ll also welcome Dilin Jones, Darrion Dupree, Gideon Ituka, and Oklahoma transfer Tawee Walker into the fold. 

That’s not a ton of returning production, so Mellusi will sit atop the depth chart with Walker while mentoring the younger tailbacks, whom the staff is incredibly high on and could push for snaps immediately.

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