Through the Badgers’ first seven games, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon has proven that he is as explosive as any player in the country. His 1,012 yards are good for No. 5 in the entire nation, but he has amassed that total with far fewer opportunities than the players ranked ahead of him. Gordon is averaging a whopping 9.46 yards per attempt for Bucky, best in the nation.
It all could have been very different, however. For the first three months of his senior year in high school, the Kenosha, Wis. native was a verbal commitment to the rival Iowa Hawkeyes.
However, when he wanted to be closer to home, Gordon de-committed from Iowa and instead accepted a scholarship to Wisconsin, located roughly 90 minutes away in Madison.
The Hawkeyes, coming off a win over Northwestern, play host to Gordon and the Badgers in Week 10 of the 2013 college football season. With his first game against the program he was nearly starring for, Gordon talked about how difficult it was to de-commit.
“Probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, de-committing from them, because I had a really good relationship with the running backs coach, Lester Erb,” Gordon said after practice on Tuesday. “It was hard telling him I wanted to de-commit.”
Erb spent more than a decade at Iowa. He knew he needed to see Gordon face-to-face, so Erb made the trip to Kenosha in an effort to hold onto his recruit. Gordon admits that only made everything all the more difficult.
“He came up and visited my school and I talked to him in person about it,” Gordon said. “It was definitely tough for me.”
The world of collegiate recruiting is an ever-fluid one. Gordon was not the first prep superstar to waver on a commitment and switch schools. He definitely won’t be the last.
That being said, his choice has definitely paid off on the field – even if he has to take a little ribbing from his current position coach, Thomas Hammock.
“My coach gives me a hard time about it sometimes, ‘You probably could have been a starter at Iowa,’ ” Gordon said.
“I don’t think about it too much.”
Gordon also said he believes the Iowa fans in attendance at Kinnick Stadium won’t be thinking about it too much either.
“They’re probably over it, but we’ll see.”
Considering it’s Iowa, they’re probably not over it, but that’s alright. In Gordon’s estimation, the chance to be closer to home has been a huge boon while going through the grind of Big Ten football. In fact, he says that his mom tries to attend practice at least once a week.
“It’s good to have support,” Gordon said. “Not everybody’s mother or father can come here to support them. She’s not only supporting me but supporting other guys, whose mothers can’t make it.”
All in all, his choice has definitely worked out for him, as well as Sconnie Nation.
“Things are working out perfectly fine for me here,” he said. “Who knows how things would have worked out if I went to Iowa, but I am happy with how I’m doing here.”