clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

“One of the fastest guys on the team”, Badgers RB Cade Yacamelli impressing in spring ball

RB Cade Yacamelli is making the most of his opportunities in spring ball with injuries in the room.

Everyone knows Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi, the two stars in the Wisconsin Badgers’ running back room.

However, who is going to be the star of this backfield once Allen and Mellusi move on?

Wisconsin Badgers safety-converted-running-back Cade Yacamelli is a guy who could play a major role next season.

“Cade’s fast, man. He can do it all. He’s working on being a great running back,” Chez Mellusi spoke on Yacamelli. “I think coach Spalding has done a great job of encouraging him [with] extra footwork things. I think he’s done a great job.”

Yacamelli, a redshirt freshman from Trafford, Pa, was originally recruited as a wide receiver before transitioning to safety last season. But, just midway through the season, he was moved to the offensive side of the line to play running back.

Although he’s new to the position, he has definitely turned heads throughout spring ball.

“He’s definitely made some major strides just over the past couple of weeks of OTAs and spring ball. Definitely [still] got a lot of learning to do. Still being used to the position and all,” said Braelon Allen. “But like I said, made major strides from day one to now. A much better back. Definitely fast, shifty [and] definitely got some power behind him.”

While the competition is pretty much set for the top two backs, there is still a battle for third in the running back room.

Yacamelli is making the most of the opportunity with fellow running back, Jackson Acker, missing time this spring due to injury.

“When it comes to pass protection, I feel like I got to be more staggered. In high school, I was a little more square, and I was really trying to throw my pads. Guys that are a little bigger, faster, they come to you harder,” Yacamelli said. “I just got to clean up past potential techniques a little bit. Besides that, once I kind of get that down, it’s going to [be the next step in the process of my development].”

One of the major coaching moves this offseason for the Badgers was hiring Devon Spalding as the new Running Backs Coach.

Spalding, a former running back at Central Michigan, has already made quite an impact on players.

With an impressive background in coaching backs at Youngstown State prior to his role with the Badgers, Yacamelli has been itching to learn from him.

“I’m going to continue to [pry] his brain. I’m going to try to absorb everything I can,” said Yacamelli on coach Spalding. “I’m going to try to become the best player I possibly can.”

The Badgers have typically been one of the strongest running back rooms in the country, so competition will be tough.

But, the redshirt freshman already received tons of praise from other players, including fellow running back Grover Bortolotti.

“Cade’s a guy that’s just a really good athlete. I mean, one of the fastest dudes on the team, and he’s also just strong. He’s a crazy athlete,” said Bortolotti. “So, he may not have as much experience or time at running back under his belt, but when you get a guy like that and get the ball to him in space, it’s just fun to watch him go make plays.”

He’s also received praise from coach Spalding, who believes he’s a natural at the position, despite the inexperience.

“Cade is another really smart kid. Like I said, all the kids I have in my room are really smart football players, but I think he’s a natural at the running back position. He plays fast, he has a lot of speed [and] versatility,” Spalding said. “I’m excited to be able to work with him and continue to watch him grow.”

There are numerous position battles playing out in spring ball so far, but make sure to keep an eye on the competition for RB3, and possibly the star back of the future.