While all of the initial hype has been about new offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s “Air Raid” offense, perhaps the greatest recipients of this new offensive scheme could be junior running back Braelon Allen and senior back Chez Mellusi.
In the past two seasons, when the running game was the focal point of the opposing defenses, this duo of backs combined for over 2,000 and 1,600, respectively. The addition of a more sophisticated passing attack will open up more running lanes for this tandem. It is very conceivable that these two backs could become the first dual 1,000-yard rushers since Melvin Gordon and James White in 2013.
Being a fan of college football for decades now, I have always been impressed by the seemingly endless parade of 1,000 rushers. Not including the Covid season of 2020, Wisconsin has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher every season since 2004.
In an attempt to re-stock the cupboard for the future, they brought in Nate White, out of King High School in Milwaukee. A 3-star recruit, White was ranked the #1 running back in the state of Wisconsin and 55th overall in the country.
Isaac Guerendo, a 4-year back at UW, departs for Louisville. Last year, in his best season at Wisconsin, he rushed 64 times for 385 yards and 5 TD’s and also had a receiving score as well. His departure isn’t ideal, his loss is mitigated by the bevy of talent already here and is incoming.
One of the top priorities of any coaching staff is to keep the in-state talent at their school. In signing King, Fickell’s staff did exactly that. Pretty impressive for a program that went through all of the turmoil that goes with a head coaching change.