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Wisconsin Football Spring Practice Stock Report: Running Backs



Wisconsin Badgers football running back Chez Mellusi with assistant coach Devon Spalding
Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin running backs coach Devon Spalding talks with running back Chez Mellusi (1) during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Madison, Wis. — With spring practice in the books, fans and the media were able to get an extended look at how the Wisconsin football program will operate with new head coach Luke Fickell steering the ship. 

Now that we’ve got 15 practices worth of reporting and film from The Launch to assess, it’s time to evaluate each position group heading into the summer. 

Next up in our position-by-position stock up, stock down series is Devon Spalding’s running back room.

Stock Up: Braelon Allen 

Braelon Allen enters year three coming off back-to-back second-team All-Big Ten seasons. He’s also run for north of 1,200 yards in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but his efficiency dropped last year, going from 6.8 yards per carry to 5.4. 

Enter Phil Longo, who promotes spacing on offense and will help Allen see fewer eight and nine-man boxes. I also thought that the 6-foot-2, 238-pound tailback looked noticeably quicker out of the backfield–so take that for what it’s worth.

I think Agent 0 will have a damn good junior season for Wisconsin football before leaving early for the NFL.

Stock Up: Chez Mellusi

I won’t waste a lot of time at the top of the depth chart; Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi make up one of the better 1, 2 punches in the country if they’re healthy. But so far, that’s a big if. 

Mellusi has appeared in 18 games with the Badgers, run for 1,288 yards, and scored seven touchdowns on 4.5 yards per carry. The former Clemson transfer has the perfect complimentary running style to Allen, which keeps opponents in check. 

Although Mellusi isn’t a burner, he’s a one-cut runner that puts his head down, moves the sticks, and provides Wisconsin football with a proven 1B out of the backfield. If he remains healthy, Mellusi is a stock-up for me. 

Other Wisconsin Football RBs 

It might not seem fair to lump all of the other Wisconsin football running backs together, but it’s the only way that makes sense because nobody else has broken through.

As it stands, Jackson Acker transitioned over from fullback and didn’t earn many reps this spring because of injury. I believe he will be UW’s RB3 based on how coach Spalding and Longo have spoken about him.

However, he didn’t get the chance to prove himself. So he’s stuck in neutral.Next, converted safety Cade Yacamelli showed some positive things early in spring practice but tapered off and finished behind walk-on Grover Bortolotti. I’ll still say stock up, if only slightly, because it’s a new position for him, and he showed glimpses of the ability to be dynamic out of the backfield. Blocking needs to improve to become a viable RB3 option.

Finally, I’m going to lump Grover Bortolotti and Zach Gloudeman together and say stock up for Bortolotti for repping with the two’s late in spring (although I don’t see him earning any carries this fall) and that I have no honest take on Gloudeman other than he looks like a fullback playing RB.

UW is going to add a tailback in the portal. I’d bet almost anything on it.

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