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With the goals of winning individual awards and more Big Ten titles, running back Melvin Gordon is delaying his dream of playing in the NFL for at least one more season.
A Doak Walker Award semifinalist after rushing for 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, Gordon announced Friday that he will return to Wisconsin for his junior season.
“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I have decided to come back next year,” Gordon said in a statement. “I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth. Academically, another year in school will help me get closer to completing my degree and on the field I hope to help my team get back the Big Ten championship.
“With this decision out of the way I can now focus on helping my team prepare for the Capital One Bowl and a great opponent in South Carolina.”
Asked by reporters last week, head coach Gary Andersen acknowledged he encouraged Gordon to seek feedback from the advisory board to get a NFL draft projection; the same process tailback Montee Ball used following his junior season.
Andersen was honest in saying he believed Gordon would be better suited to return for a junior season, for selfish reasons and for Gordon's further development.
“Melvin is a great player and a great kid and we are very happy with his decision,” Andersen said in a statement. “We tried to be very supportive throughout the decision-making process and relayed all the information he needed to make an informed decision. I’m glad he can now focus on the bowl game and prepare for a great 2014.”
After leading all FBS players by averaging 10.0 yards per carry last season, Gordon is averaging a nation-leading 8.10 yards per attempt in 2013 (min. 100 carries). He leads the nation (or is tied for the lead) in runs of 60-plus (4) and 70-plus (3) yards. Gordon is the FBS’s active career leader in yards per rushing attempt at 8.31.
Gordon rushed for at least 140 yards in seven of Wisconsin’s 12 games this season. He also reached the 1,000-yard plateau for his career faster than anyone in UW history, hitting 1,003 career yards on his 104th carry, a 7-yard tote in the second quarter vs. Tennessee Tech.
With 1,466 yards this season, Gordon has a chance to become the ninth player in Wisconsin history to rush for at least 1,500 yards in a season.