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Badgers name Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi starting running back
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Badgers name Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi starting running back

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Chez Mellusi made good on one of the goals he set for himself when he transferred to the University of Wisconsin — he was named the Badgers starting running back Monday ahead of the team’s season opener against Penn State.

Badgers head coach Paul Chryst describes why the word purposefulness is what comes to mind when speaking about running back Chez Mellusi

Mellusi, who spent the first two years of his career at Clemson backing up Travis Etienne, split first-team carries with redshirt freshman Jalen Berger during UW’s fall training camp. But he earned the starting nod by being the most consistent player in the backfield, UW coach Paul Chryst said.

Mellusi played in 21 games and tallied 427 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 71 carries and five catches for 38 yards and a score while at Clemson. He showed patience, vision and speed during training camp, as well as receiving skills out of the backfield.

“The way he plays fits perfectly into Wisconsin smart, tough, dependable (mantra),” sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz said. “He truly came in and went straight to work.”

Berger still will have a role, and possibly a significant one after leading the Badgers in rushing last season.

“We’re still in a position where we’ve got to have a number of backs play and play well,” Chryst said.

Tippmann locks down center

Sophomore Joe Tippmann was named the Badgers’ starting center after taking control of the spot midway through training camp. His physical play and quick first steps off the ball have impressed coaches.

Senior Kayden Lyles camp into camp as the starter, but Tippmann outperformed him to earn the job.

“He can present some problems with, one, size and that strength and kind of explosion off the ball,” defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said about Tippmann. “So excited to see what he can do.”


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