Walk-on freshman Carter Scudo will make a lasting impact at UMass

Scudo ran for a touchdown vs. EMU

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Thom Kendall/ UMass Athletics

By Joey Aliberti, Assistant Sports Editor

An injury to Kay’Ron Adams paved way for Ellis Merriweather to take a lion’s share of the snaps as running back for the Massachusetts football team’s offense. Walk-on freshman Carter Scudo has been set to fill in as the next man up for UMass (0-3) head coach Walt Bell.

Scudo’s opportunity came late in the fourth quarter of the Minutemen’s game against Eastern Michigan when Merriweather went down with cramping and limped off the field. Scudo took his first rushing opportunity for 21 yards, putting the offense at the 11-yard line. Scudo was two yards out when he scored his first collegiate touchdown on his third carry of his career. He finished the day with four carries for 33 yards and the late-game touchdown.

Scudo is still officially listed on the UMass Athletics page as a wide receiver, though he is the second string running back on the depth chart.

Adams and Merriweather are the only scholarship running backs on the roster for Bell, forcing him to look to Scudo to provide support for Merriweather.

Scudo was high school teammates with starting quarterback Brady Olson, as both played at Milford High School during their senior year. Scudo even beat out Olson as Metro West’s Offensive Player of the Year.

In the seven games Scudo played senior year he totaled over a thousand yards (rushing and receiving combined) along with nine touchdowns. He lined up at both wide receiver and running back during his time at Milton.

Despite the senior year success, Scudo received no Division-I scholarship offers. Standing at 5-foot-11 and 192-pounds, Scudo’s size was deemed too much to overcome without a foundation of elite talent. The proximity to home that Amherst offers along with the chance to play alongside Milton teammates Olson and linebacker Dominic Schofield was enough for Scudo to choose UMass.

Scudo started fall camp as a slot wide receiver, but quickly found his way to his preferred position.

“We knew we had to add some depth there,” Bell said of the running backs on his roster. “[Scudo] was kind of the best available athlete that had at least played running back.”

Even as a walk-on freshman, Scudo has earned his stripes in the eyes of Bell.

“He’s made the most of his opportunity,” Bell said. “He’ll be a contributor here for the next four years in a multitude of roles I’m sure. Whether it be at running back, special teams, slot receiver he just continues to work hard and earn his way every day.”

Merriweather and Adams have also been primary supporters in Scudo’s short time with the Minutemen. Adams was the first person to celebrate Scudo’s touchdown with him and Merriweather will go over and talk to his mother after every home game.

“[Scudo is a] great positive guy,” Merriweather said. “He’s so fun to be around…unfortunately I cramped and I had to miss the drive, but I’m so happy for him and that he was able to get that opportunity in front of his family… he’s a quick learner, he learned everything in probably about a week or two.”

Barring an injury to Merriweather, Scudo will not see much more offensive opportunities Saturday against Coastal Carolina, as Bell has voiced his desire to utilize Merriweather as much as he can. Merriweather received 23 carries and caught two more passes against Eastern Michigan for a total of 162 yards, easily his highest total since transferring to UMass.

Scudo is a versatile running back and he still might find his way onto the field one way or another in the future.

The Minutemen head down to South Carolina to face the No. 17 Chanticleers at 1 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

Joey Aliberti can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JosephAliberti1