The best recruiting job Wisconsin Badgers head coach Gary Anderson did this winter wasn’t for any of the recruits signed on national signing day earlier this month, but when he was able to keep running back Melvin Gordon in Madison for one more year.
The rising redshirt junior ran for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns with a number of touchdown runs of the home run variety.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “He’s so fluid and easy and graceful,” one NFL personnel director said at the scouting combine. “He’s (expletive) really good. He’s a first-rounder.”
Pretty high praise for Gordon who will begin the 2014 season on the short list for preseason Heisman Trophy candidates as a potential 2,000-yard rusher.
Another scouting director took that praise and bumped it up a notch, telling the Journal Sentinel that Gordon was “head and shoulders” above the rest of the running backs in the draft that doesn’t include a bonafide first-rounder.
That bonafide first rounder would have been the 6-1, 207-pound Gordon who felt pressure to declare for the draft, including from his mother, and admitted it bothers him knowing that he could be supporting his family.
When running backs have the choice to stay of go, more often that not they leave with the shelf life so short at the position and the risk of injury so high, but part of Gordon’s reasoning for staying according to the Journal Sentinel is he wants to leave a legacy at Wisconsin.
At a program that includes all-time NCAA rusher Ron Dayne along with all-time leading scorer Montee Ball, Gordon can find himself along those college stars with a stellar 2014 and put himself in a position to be a better player in the NFL than those former Badgers.