It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the most impressive member of the Wisconsin Badgers football team this spring was a running back.
However, it’s slightly shocking that it wasn’t the 2011 Heisman Finalist Montee Ball or even the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year James White, but rather a young red-shirt freshman named Melvin Gordon.
If you’re Head Coach Bret Bielema, is it time to find room for Gordon in a crowded backfield or let him simmer and learn behind the experienced Ball and White?
Gordon, who came to the Badgers program as a four-star recruit and ranked #24th in his class at his position by Rivals.com, has a lot of potential.
In the Badgers annual spring game, Gordon carried the ball a ridiculous 30 times and picked up a game-high 159 yards.
Bielema couldn’t help but rave over one of his newest and improved offensive weapons.
“The good news about Melvin is that we have four years of him. It’s also a unique thing that he has three games of experience in him.”
In 2011, Gordon saw action in three games, but was still able to red-shirt due to NCAA rules. He was particularly useful against South Dakota when he scored his first career touchdown and took advantage of eight carries for 32 yards.
Ball and White didn’t take part in the Spring game because of injury concerns, so it really turned into a showcase for Gordon.
“We wanted to see Melvin grind it out and he got stronger as the day went on in my opinion,” added Bielema.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Gordon’s game is how much you can see he has learned from the successful combo of Ball and White.
Gordon has the smash-mouth mentality and the cuts of Ball, but at the same time can hit the sidelines and show that characteristic boost that White loves to use.
After the Spring Game, Gordon had no problems with giving credit where credit is due.
“Having a Heisman finalist in front of you helps a lot. Anytime he sees me messing up, I go to him or James and they know what to do.”
However, Gordon was also quick to know his place on the team and that playing time will be by no means easy to come by. When asked whether he will be playing come fall, he responded in humble fashion.
“I’ll let the coaches worry about that,” said Gordon.
My best guess is that Gordon will see action when the Badgers are blowing teams out like they usually do with a soft non-conference schedule.
There’s also been talk of finding a way to feature Ball and White on the field at the same time which would open up room for Gordon in the rotation on specific downs.
Either way, there’s no doubt that Gordon is a player to get excited about, if not now, in the near future.
What do you think of Melvin Gordon? Do you feel he should see significant action in the Fall? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.
Melvin Gordon vs. Northern Illinois (http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Melvin+Gordon/Wisconsin+v+Northern+Illinois/jbfbsFrkxfH)
Melvin Gordon (wisconsin.scout.com)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks