If Big 10 football fans don’t know who Melvin Gordon is by now, they will definitely become familiarized with his name very soon.
The redshirt sophomore running back for the University of Wisconsin is poised to become the breakout star in the conference in 2013. While the Badgers have enjoyed a plethora of riches at the running back position over the years from Heisman Trophy winner and NCAA all-time leading rusher Ron Dayne, to former Doak Walker Award winner and NCAA leader in career touchdowns Montee Ball, perhaps no one at the position had the physical skills and natural running ability that young Mr. Gordon is blessed with.
It is easy to see why people may not have taken notice of the budding star last season for the Badgers. When the feature back is busy breaking touchdown records (the aforementioned Ball) and the second option is the always-serviceable James White (who finished the 2012 season with 806 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns), it is easy for someone to get “lost in the shuffle”.
But when number 25 did find his way on to the field and carried the rock, Gordon did not disappoint.
Despite being the third wheel in the Wisconsin rushing attack, Gordon still managed to rush for 621 yards and three touchdowns on just 62 carries. For all you non-math majors out there, that is a mind-boggling 10 yards-per-carry.
Despite putting up solid numbers throughout the regular season, the budding superstar saved his best performance of the year for the Big Ten Championship game, where Gordon torched the Nebraska defense to the tune of 216 yards and one touchdown on just nine carries in the Badgers 70-31 win over the Cornhuskers in Indianapolis.
What makes Gordon such an intriguing and special talent is his combination of size (6-foot-1, 206 pounds) and speed. If he can learn to fix his knack for running too upright and prove he is capable of picking up the tough yards between the tackles, then there is absolutely no reason why this kid can’t challenge James White as the featured back.
If those question marks are figured out come fall camp, look out. Not only will Melvin Gordon become a household name in Big 10 country, he may just become a household name across the entire college football nation.