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Wisconsin’s Gordon puts Hawkeye recruitment rumor to rest

[ 0 ] October 28, 2013 |

Melvin Gordon once felt at home in Kinnick Stadium.

In fact, the talented running back enjoyed the experience so much, he accepted a football scholarship from Iowa.

But after a change of heart — which sparked message board chatter and speculation — Gordon joined the Wisconsin program.

Saturday, he’ll gain a different perspective of Iowa City when the Badgers visit the Hawkeyes at 11 a.m.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Gordon was a four-star prospect coming out of Kenosha, Wis., rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Gordon was a four-star prospect coming out of Kenosha, Wis., rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

“It wasn’t that loud when I was there, but it could have been where I was sitting,” Gordon explained. “From what I hear from different players, that was the loudest stadium they’ve been to.

“They said they could barely hear.”

This has been a breakout season for Gordon, who ranks fifth nationally with 1,012 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

Those numbers added up to a smooth transition for first-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, who spent four years at Utah State before replacing Bret Bielema.

“Melvin’s productivity is off the charts,” Andersen said. “But past that, his ability to be unselfish and stay in the moment, prepare each week, be steady Eddie … is incredible.

“It’s impressive the way he handles the success that he’s had.”

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Gordon was a four-star prospect coming out of Kenosha, Wis., rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 38 touchdowns as a high school senior.

Iowa appeared to be the frontrunner in Gordon’s recruitment, and he verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

“I went there three or four times,” Gordon said. “It was great, but I just kind of ended up changing my mind later during the process.”

When Gordon switched to Wisconsin, in November of 2010, outsiders wondered why?

According to Internet scuttlebutt, Gordon was turned off after witnessing a fight between Iowa players following a loss to Ohio State.

“That wasn’t a reason at all,” Gordon said Monday. “I never saw a fight. I saw the guys were upset. You could tell. But no one fought.

“I don’t know where that came from. But that didn’t play a factor in my decision at all.”

Gordon was Montee Ball’s understudy last season, netting 621 yards on 62 carries.

Now, he’s producing video-game-type numbers — including 9.5 yards per carry — while splitting snaps with James White.

“He’ll take the first series, I’ll take the second series,” Gordon said. “We just alternate. Really, it’s just who’s hot and who’s not.”

White has contributed 672 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 6.2 per carry. The Badgers rank eighth nationally with 296.9 rushing yards per game.

“We’re both playing good right now,” Gordon said. “We try to work really hard as a running backs group, so that when we go out there we can make plays.”

Gordon is earning a murmur of Heisman Trophy talk, while helping Wisconsin to a 5-2 mark.

Andersen’s arrival did not sway the Badgers away from their traditional brute-force approach.

“He’s a great coach,” Gordon said of Andersen. “We love playing for him. He brings high energy every day.

“We run the same offense. Nothing’s really changed, a few different wrinkles here and there.”

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Category: Big Ten, Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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