Melvin Gordon should be a household name for college football fans by now. Even though he’s been running alongside guys like James White and Montee Ball at Wisconsin for the last three seasons, his potential as the sole feature back in the Badgers’ offense became easily visible last season. Now that he is alone in the backfield, Gordon will lead the NCAA in total rushing yards in 2014.
In a season that didn’t even see Gordon get the most carries on his team — White ran the ball 15 more times — only nine other running backs ran for more yards than the sophomore in 2013. To give you even more of a perspective of how much damage Gordon did while sharing carries, he was exactly 100 yards shy of being up in the ranks with Stanford‘s Tyler Gaffney, who received 124 more carries.
Adding to that, Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry, a whole yard better than anyone else in the top-10. That speaks loudly for the value he carried with 206 rushing attempts on the season.
Gordon brings the best of power and speed to his game. He has absolutely no problem bulldozing his way through the trenches on third-and-short, but he’s also a dangerous weapon when he gets to the second level. He shakes off tackles, outruns linebackers and is agile enough to make safeties and corners miss. Wisconsin has the perfect storm brewing its backfield on every play.
Providing Gordon with room to work on every play is a spectacular offensive line, which has been one of the main staples of the program in recent years. With the addition of Gary Anderson as the head coach at Wisconsin, he brought with him one of the best in the business when it comes to unleashing talent on the offensive line: T.J. Woods.
Woods firmly believes his unit needs to be toughest on the field in order to find success. He demands a level of physicality that has to be frightening for opposing defensive linemen, and he did a tremendous job developing one of the best offensive lines in the nation during his first year on the Badgers’ staff.
Barring injury or suspension, Gordon should be the leading candidate for many awards and honors as we begin approaching next season. He has all the tools and weapons to carry himself wherever he pleases. I honestly can’t wait to see what he looks like as a feature back in an offense that boasts such a physical style of play. It’ll be truly exciting to see what he does.