Running Back, 2019 Commit
The Kraken: 4-Stars
Rivals: Hi 3-Stars, 247: Low 4-Stars, ESPN: 4-Stars
Recruited by Tony Elliot
2/24/19 – It’s time to check back in on RB, Chez Mellusi. Mellusi ended up being our marquee RB take in this class and will enroll this fall. I agree with everything I wrote previously except for these adjustments.
Mellusi had an excellent senior year at Naples HS in Florida with 183 carries, for 1819 yards, 9.9 ypc, and 21 TDs. As mentioned last year, this is another guy with acceleration and explosiveness through the hole that lends itself to big play ability. Like with Etienne and Dixon, there is a good chance that this will translate to the next level, allowing him to beat Front 6 players to their gaps and making him very slippery.
The advantage he has over Etienne and Dixon is that he is far more polished as a pass catching threat and he is already used to blocking and getting his hands dirty. He has 3rd down back written all over him, and if we can’t find carries for him down the road, we might find some work at slot WR for him. He’ll be a legit threat in 5-wide sets also. I expect us to travel one of the freshman RBs, and Mellusi is my guy even though Dukes will have a head start on him this spring. I’m sticking with the 4-Star assessment here, which is a notch below where Dixon and Etienne were, but not by a large margin. I really like that he brings a different set of skills to the table than those two. Tony Tony Tony has done it again (reference for all you 90s kids out there).
5/16/18 – Cesare “Chez” Mellusi is a RB from Naples, FL on the Gulf Coast below Tampa. He was also offered by Auburn, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and USC.
Mellusi has good top end speed. He looks like he’s in the 4.58 to 4.62 range on film which is big-time speed in high school. The first clip on his highlight tape is him getting run down from behind on a breakaway, but whoever that guy is can run too. He has excellent acceleration like we want and has good forward lean as he accelerates. This makes him slippery. When he turns the corner it is impressive to see that burst.
He is listed at 175, which might seem smaller than we would like, but that’s right around where Andre Ellington and C.J. Spiller were. He is a short legs/long torso guy, and those guys are usually guys with great lateral movement, but he is more of one-cut-and-go guy. That one cut is pretty special though. There may also be some wiggle in there that he hasn’t yet tapped into yet.
Mellusi’s team runs the old split-back veer which is nothing like what we do. His runs are typically quick hitters close to the line of scrimmage, lead plays behind man blocking, and pitch outs. Most of the plays they run don’t require a lot of vision. He either runs the hole or follows the lead back and then makes a cut off of his block. Being a one cut guy, though, is a zone RB trait and that style should translate. I should mention that he shows good vision on their lead draw plays.
As a split back RB, he has to be the lead blocker a good bit. That means we are going to get a guy that comes in accustomed to getting his hands dirty in blocking. He’s going to be an asset as a lead blocker on QB Lead Draw.
Chez is not a bruiser, but he’s not scared either. He gets up to top speed quickly and explodes through the creases. He doesn’t take a ton of contact on film, but there is the threat of violence in the way he runs. He is more slippery than powerful (in the way that ETN is slippery and Gallman is powerful).
On long yardage plays, they use him as a slot WR. He’s not a seasoned route runner, but he shows great hands, body control, and willingness to go over the middle. Out of the backfield, they typically use him on swap boot plays and lead and go. He can make circus catches and do damage after the catch. He will be a factor in the passing game and that might get him on the field sooner rather than later.
Mellusi can do a lot of things well. He even blocks a punt for a TD on film. I could see him as a RB, 2WR, and 5WR for us. I’m not sure how many of you are old enough to remember Wesley McFadden, the tailback turned FB in the late 80s here, but he reminds me of him as a RB. Stylistically, he also reminds me of Ryan Matthews of the Eagles and Robert Smith of the Vikings back in the day. From a skills standpoint, he is similar to Antwuan Wyatt from the mid 90s.
Mellusi has a high floor. I have him as a solid 4-Star heading into his senior year. He can do so many different things, it should be easy to get him on the field. He could be used as a smaller, quicker version of Jaylen Samuels. I’ve got a lot of comparisons for this guy, huh? I think we’re getting better at recruiting guys that fit our system.