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Rising Stars: Wisconsin Football Staffers Honored on 247’s 30 Under 30 List

247Sports recently put out its annual 30 under 30 list, and the Wisconsin football program had multiple representative’s on their list.



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

The Wisconsin football program has a new sheriff in town, and his name is Luke Fickell. Since taking over the Badgers — Fickell worked quickly to assemble an impressive (on paper) coaching staff with proven commodities like Phil Longo and Mike Tressel, to name a few. 

Additionally, UW brought in assistant coaches Colin Hitschler and Greg Scruggs, that have ties to Fickell from their time at Cincinnati — both of which were named rising stars by Athlon Sports

But a recently published list by 247Sports highlighting their 30 under 30 unearthed two more Wisconsin football staffers who are viewed as young, quickly ascending talents in their respective professions. 

Badgers Running Back Coach Devon Spalding 

At only 27 years old, Wisconsin football running back coach Devon Spalding cracked the 30 under 30 list — which is pretty impressive when you consider he finished his playing career in 2018. 

After working under Fickell as a grad assistant at Cincinnati and spending three seasons at Youngstown State, Spalding earned himself a crack at coaching the tailbacks at RBU. 

Since then, he’s played an important role in recruiting four-star RBs Darrion Dupree and Dilin Jones in the 2024 recruiting class. 

“He’s done a great job,” a Wisconsin source said of Spalding. “He had a tough room because of the experience and won everyone over. Great recruiter, too.”

I’m most interested to see Spalding’s work with the running backs on the roster not named Braelon Allen or Chez Mellusi because the group behind them is unproven and includes two players transitioning to the position (Jackson Acker & Cade Yacamelli). 

Wisconsin Football Director of Player Personnel Max Stienecker 

The second Wisconsin football staffer named on the 30 under 30 list was Badgers Director of Player Personnel Max Stienecker.

Stienecker, 23, is the youngest director of player personnel in the entire Power 5 and began his career as a student assistant at Cincinnati in 2018. He later transitioned into an on-campus recruiting role and has worked closely with now Wisconsin Director of Recruiting Pat Lambert. 

He’s already known for his ability to connect with recruits and build meaningful relationships. There’s no doubt that Stienecker is another impressive asset working his way up the ranks for the Wisconsin football program. 

If there’s one thing to take away from this article — it’s that it pays to hitch your wagon to Luke Fickell. He surrounds himself with brilliant people and puts them in a position to flourish.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.