Top 10 Wisconsin Badgers We’ll Miss: No. 1, Melvin Gordon


The 2014 college football season is winding down, and Badger of Honor is bidding farewell to the Wisconsin football players who will leave the team following the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2015.

The final spot in our countdown is a no brainer. He’s the best running back in the Big Ten Conference, and likely the best in the country. He’s the only junior on our list, and might be the first running back selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Trent Richardson in 2012.

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Running back Melvin Gordon runs away with the top spot in our countdown.

The list of accolades is stunning. Heisman Trophy runner-up. Doak Walker Award Winner. Maxwell Award Finalist. Walter Camp Player of the Year Finalist. Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Dane-Ameche Big Ten Running Back of the Year. First Team AP-All American. Consensus First Team All-Big Ten. Multiple Big Ten Player of the Week honors.

Game after game, Gordon continues to prove why he’s one of the best running backs in college football history.

He’s currently just 292 yards away from breaking Barry Sanders all-time single-season rushing record, and leads the country in both yards (2,336) and rushing touchdowns (26).

He already set the Big Ten single-season rushing record, and became the fastest running back ever to reach 2,000 yards on this carry against Iowa:

Simply put, Gordon’s 2014 performance has been one of the best a running back has ever achieved in all of college football.

And he’s done it all behind a one of the worst passing attacks in recent Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin has the 117th ranked passing game in college football at 1,961 yards this season. Total offense? Eighteenth best in the nation. That’s because Gordon and backup Corey Clement  – with a little help from running QB Tanner McEvoy and some late game play from other backups – have put together a top-5 rushing offense with 4,082 yards on the ground this season, good enough for 4th best in the country.

Gordon currently has 57.2 percent of Wisconsin’s rushing yards and has been responsible for 41.2 percent of all of Wisconsin’s offensive output (2,487 of Wisconsin’s 6,043 total yards).

His highlight reel from 2014 is chock full of broken tackles, open-field jukes and touchdown after touchdown. No game film highlights his dominance more than the Nebraska showing, a game in which he broke LaDanian Tomlinson’s single-game rushing record, however briefly he held it.

Gordon, a junior, has declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, and early mocks suggest he has a chance to become the first running back to be selected in the first round since 2012.

He will be missed more than any player on this roster, not only for the game-in-game-out production, but for the work ethic he added to the squad and the leadership he provided.

Wisconsin has always had strong running backs, but we’ve witnessed something special in 2014.

Statistics courtesy

Badgers We’ll Miss:

11. The rest of the senior class

10. Peniel Jean

9. Kenzel Doe

8. Warren Herring

7. Dallas Lewallen

6. Sam Arneson

5. Kyle Costigan

4. Derek Landisch

3. Marcus Trotter

2. Rob Havenstein

1. Melvin Gordon