Five-star running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, CA) is one of the top recruits in the nation and high on the Wisconsin Badgers board and he even has Gary Andersen’s program in his top four. But with the news Friday of Melvin Gordon returning for his junior year, does that influence the highly touted recruit in any way?
It does in a couple of different ways, and I’ll tell you why.
First let’s take a look at it this way. With Gordon returning and freshman Corey Clement proving that he will be a quality runner, coupled with two backs (Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw) already committed to the Badgers, does Mixon want to join an already deep backfield? With talent like he has, you want to come in and start instantly and make an impact. But with Gordon coming back, Mixon would have to share the spotlight with not only him but Clement as well and would more than likely not be the featured tailback.
Or we can look at it this way. Mixon has all the tools to be a star running back and one of the best in the nation. Yes it’s going to be a crowded backfield for the time being, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to come in and compete for a spot behind Gordon. And you know that Joe saw what the Badgers were able to do when they featured two running backs. Plus if the Badgers do go the route of having Gordon and Clement share time, with Mixon as their third back, that wouldn’t be a horrible thing either. Melvin Gordon will probably be gone after next year anyway, leaving Mixon and Clement as the top two running backs for Wisconsin.
And honestly the Badgers offensive line is not going to decline anytime soon, so wouldn’t you want to run behind an NFL-caliber line like Wisconsin has? I certainly would, it would make my job that much easier.
Obviously this is all speculation and we will have to wait until the 2014 Army All-American Bowl on January 4th to find out just where Joe Mixon will decide to go. I have the Badgers with a small chance to land Mixon, but really this thing could go either way.