Melvin Gordon

For the businessman, see Melvin Gordon (businessman).
Melvin Gordon

refer to caption

Gordon with the Wisconsin Badgers in 2014
No. 28San Diego Chargers
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1993-04-13) April 13, 1993
Place of birth: Kenosha, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Kenosha (WI) Bradford
College: Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 10, 2016
Rushing yards: 1,479
Average: 3.7
Rushing touchdowns: 9
Receptions: 66
Receiving yards: 538
Receiving touchdowns: 2
Player stats at

Melvin Gordon III (born November 6 1993) is an American football running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Wisconsin, and was drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

Gordon briefly held the NCAA Division I FBS single game rushing yardage record with 408 yards, set playing in three quarters against Nebraska in November 2014, until it was broken the following week by Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine with 427 yards. He became the second all-time single season rusher in FBS history with 2,587 yards, falling 41 yards shy of Barry Sanders' record of 2,628 yards set in 1988.[1]

Early years

Gordon attended Mary D. Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he was a two-sport star in both football and track. In football, he tallied 1,098 yards and 11 scores on 99 carries, and had five receiving touchdowns, and was an honorable mention All-state and All-region by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) as a junior. He was a first-team All-state selection by the Associated Press and the WFCA as a senior, after he rushed for 2,009 yards with 38 touchdowns. He was the Wisconsin Gatorade Football Player of the Year.

Gordon's high school teammate, Trae Waynes, was drafted four spots ahead of Gordon in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

Also an outstanding track & field athlete, Gordon was one of the state's top performers in the long jump. At the 2011 Racine Invitational event, he ran the 55-meter dash in a PR 6.39 seconds on his way to a first-place finish.[2] He earned a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash at the 2011 SEC Outdoor Conference, recording a career-best time of 10.95 seconds.[3] At the 2011 WIAA Track & Field State Championships, he took silver in the long jump event after posting a career-best leap of 7.20 meters (23 ft 7 in).[4]

Regarded as a four-star recruit by, Gordon was ranked the No. 24 running back in the nation. He was ranked the top player in Wisconsin by He chose Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Iowa, Louisville and Michigan.[5] Gordon originally committed to the University of Iowa but decommitted and chose the University of Wisconsin–Madison instead.[6]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Melvin Gordon
Kenosha, WI Bradford 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 4.5 Dec 5, 2010 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: #38 RB   Rivals: #24 RB  247Sports: #6 RB  ESPN: #39 ATH
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career

Gordon attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he played for the Wisconsin Badgers football team from 2011 through 2014.


As a freshman in 2011 he played in three games rushing 20 times for 98 yards with a touchdown. He was given a medical redshirt after suffering a groin injury.[7]


Gordon during a 56-yard touchdown run in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game

In 2012 Gordon was the third string Running Back behind Montee Ball and James White. Gordon set a career-high record of 216 yards on nine carries averaging 24 yards per carry in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers where the unranked Badgers defeated the #12 Cornhuskers 70-31.[8] During the 2013 Rose Bowl he had nine carries for 51 yards against #6 ranked Stanford but ultimately the unranked Badgers lost 20-14.[8]

Over the course of the 2012 season he rushed 62 times for 621 yards and three touchdowns.[9]


On November 14 Gordon was named one of the ten semifinalists for the 2013 Doak Walker Award.[10] In December 2013, Gordon announced after much speculation that he would be returning to Wisconsin for his junior season. In explaining his decision, Gordon stated that,"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."[11]


Rushing against Western Illinois

Prior to the season Gordon was widely viewed as a Heisman Trophy contender.[12][13][14][15] He was also on preseason watchlists for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award.[8][16] 2014 was the first year where Gordon was Wisconsin's featured running back; in 2012 he was behind both Montee Ball and James White, and 2013 he was behind James White with Corey Clement as the third string running back after Gordon.

Gordon began the season with 16 carries for 140 yards against #13 LSU on 30 August at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. LSU came from a 7-24 deficit to win the game 28-24. Wisconsin's head coach, Gary Andersen, was criticized for Gordon only having three carries in the second half and when questioned Anderson stated he "didn't know why Gordon had limited carries".[17] Gordon stated to the media after the game that he wasn't injured.[18] However, two days later Andersen stated that Gordon strained his hip-flexor on the last play in the 2nd quarter of the game against LSU and "we were trying to be smart with him as the rest of the game went on".[17] In the second game of the season against the Western Illinois Leathernecks (FCS) Gordon was held to a season-low 38 rushing yards on 17 rushing attempts.

On September 20 against Bowling Green, Gordon had a career-high 5 rushing touchdowns and 253 rushing yards.[19] Just two weeks later Gordon surpassed his 253-yard game rushing against Bowling Green when he reached 259 yards rushing against Northwestern at Ryan Field in a losing effort.[20] After week six Gordon was named to the Midseason College Football All-America Team.[21] Gordon was listed as one of 20 semifinalists for the Maxwell award on November 3, three finalists would be announced November 24.[22]

On November 15, Gordon set the FBS single game rushing record with 408 yards versus the #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Gordon accomplished this, as well as scoring four rushing touchdowns, on only 25 carries in three quarters of play. The previous mark of 406 yards was set by TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson and had stood as a record since 1999.[23] He also broke the 339 yard school record, held by Ron Dayne since 1996, and the 377 yard Big Ten Conference record, held by Indiana running back Anthony Thompson since 1989.[24] Gordon garnered multiple Player of the Week awards for his performance against the Huskers. The Walter Camp Football Foundation, Athlon Sports and named him National Offensive Player of the Week, and the Big Ten named him the conference Offensive Player of the Week.[25][26][27]

On November 19 Gordon was named one of ten semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Foundation listed him as one of the fifteen "Players to Watch" for the Walter Camp Award. The Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will release a list of three finalists on November 25 and the Walter Camp Foundation will release a list of five finalists on December 3.[28]

Gordon running against the Iowa Hawkeyes defense in 2014 at Kinnick Stadium

On November 22, against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, Gordon rushed for 200 yards and had four receptions for 64 yards, leading the team in both categories. Gordon went over 2,000 yards rushing for the season, only the 17th player in FBS history to do so.[29] He reached the 2,000 yard mark faster than any of his predecessors, on just 241 carries. The previous holder for fastest 2,000 yards was Penn State running back Larry Johnson who accomplished the feat on 251 carries in 2002.[30] However, Gordon's single game rushing record was broken by Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine who gained 427 yards in a game against Kansas. When Gordon learned that his record had been broken after only one week, he commented: "That's disappointing, to have that. But congrats to that guy; that's really not easy to do."[29] Gordon was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season as a result of his performance at Kinnick Stadium.[31]

On November 25, Gordon was named as a finalist for the Maxwell Award with quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State). Gordon and fellow Big Ten running backs Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) and Tevin Coleman (Indiana) were named the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award.[32] Gordon would later win the award. On December 1, Gordon was named the Big Ten's Ameche–Dayne Running Back of the Year as well as being a consensus 1st Team All-Big Ten Running Back.[33][34] The following day Melvin Gordon was named the Big Ten's Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year.[35]

On December 8, 2014, it was announced that Gordon was one of three Heisman Trophy finalists joining Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.[36] Gordon became Wisconsin's fourth finalist for the Heisman Trophy, all of whom played running back for the Badgers. Alan Ameche (1954) and Ron Dayne (1999) won the award, while Montee Ball (2011) finished fourth in the final balloting. Gordon finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Mariota.[37]

On December 10, 2014, Gordon announced his intention to forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.[38]

In Gordon's final college game, the 2015 Outback Bowl, he rushed for 251 yards against the #19 Auburn Tigers in an overtime victory. He set the Outback Bowl rushing record with his performance[1] and was named the game MVP.[39] For the season, he gained 2,587 yards, second only in FBS history to the 2,628 yard record held by Barry Sanders since 1988.[1]

College statistics

Rushing Receiving
Year Team GP/GS Att Yards Avg Long TDs Avg/G Rec Yards TDs
2011 Wisconsin 3/0 20 98 4.9 14 1 32.7 0 0 0
2012 Wisconsin 14/4 62 621 10.0 60 3 44.4 2 65 1
2013 Wisconsin 13/4 206 1,609 7.8 80 12 123.8 1 10 0
2014 Wisconsin 14/14 343 2,587 7.5 88 29 184.8 19 153 3
College Totals 44/22 631 4,915 7.8 88 45 111.7 22 228 4


College awards/honors

2014 season
2013 season
2012 season

College records

NCAA Division I FBS records
Big Ten Conference records
Wisconsin Badgers records

Professional career

"Gordon was already thought of as a borderline first-round pick entering the 2014 season, and then steadily built on his resume. With Todd Gurley's knee injury, Gordon is the odds-on-favorite to be the first running back drafted in the 2015 class."

Dane Brugler, draft analyst

At the time Gordon announced he was entering the 2015 NFL Draft, draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. had Gordon at #9 on his "Big Board".[38]

After the end of the 2014 College Football season Gordon prepared for the NFL Combine at EXOS San Diego in Carlsbad based on his former Wisconsin teammate, Jared Abbrederis' recommendation.[43]

At the 2015 NFL Combine, Gordon set a new record for the 60 yard shuttle with 11.0 seconds.[44] However, the record was then broken by Byron Jones who had a time of 10.98 seconds.[45] On April 30, 2015, the San Diego Chargers selected Gordon with the 15th overall pick.[46]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1 in 215 lb 4.52 s 1.62 s 2.66 s 4.07 s 7.04 s 35 in 10 ft 6 in 19 reps
All values from NFL Combine[44]

2015 season

On May 15, 2015, the Chargers signed Gordon to a four-year, fully guaranteed contract for $10.66 million, with a $6 million signing bonus. The contract also includes a fifth-year option.[47]

Gordon began his career being named the starting running back for the Chargers' season opener, ahead of veteran Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver. On September 13, 2015, he received his first career start against the Detroit Lions and finished the season opener with 14 carries, 51 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards, and lost a fumble. The next week, he carried the ball 16 times for a season-high 88-yards and made a 10-yard reception in a 19-24 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. On October 12, 2015, Gordon had 7 catches for a season-high 52-yards and also accounted for 42 yards on 15 carries in a 20–24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. During a Week 6 matchup at the Green Bay Packers, he had 7 attempts for 29 yards and also lost 2 fumbles in a 20-27 loss. After six consecutive starts to begin his career, Gordon was benched for the beginning of a Week 7 contest against the Oakland Raiders. He finished the game with 7 carries for 29 yards. Gordon returned to his starting role the next game at the Baltimore Ravens and carried the ball a season-high 18 times for 54 yards in a 26–29 loss. In his last game of the season, he had 15 rushing attempts and 41-yards in a 30-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins.[48]

On December 21, 2015, the Chargers placed Gordon on season-ending injured/reserved after sustaining a knee injury the previous day against the Miami Dolphins.[49] He finished his rookie season with 184 carries, 641 rushing yards, 33 receptions, 192 receiving yards, 6 fumbles, and no touchdowns in 14 games and 12 starts.

2016 season

On May 10, 2016, it was revealed that Gordon had undergone microfracture surgery in January, but would still be ready for camp and other activities starting in 2016. On September 11, 2016, Gordon scored his first two rushing touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished the game with 14 carries for 57 yards.

NFL Statistics

Season Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Att Yards Avg Lng TD Rec Yards Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2015 SD 14 12 184 641 3.5 27 0 33 192 5.8 18 0 6 4
2016 SD 8 6 161 572 3.6 48 11 24 219 9.1 30 2 2 2
Career 22 18 345 1,213 3.5 48 11 57 411 7.2 30 2 8 6


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Melvin Gordon sets Outback Bowl-record, leads Wisconsin by Auburn". Associated Press. January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  2. "Racine Invitational".
  3. "SEC Outdoor Conference - Track & Field Meet".
  4. "WIAA D1, D2, & D3 Track & Field State Championships - Track & Field Meet".
  5. "Melvin Gordon".
  6. "RB Gordon expected to decommit". TheGazette. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  7. "Gilbert, Gordon will redshirt". Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "UW Badgers Biography: 25 Melvin Gordon". University of Wisconsin. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  9. 1 2 Sat, Nov 212:00 PM ET. "Melvin Gordon Stats, News, Videos, Pictures, Bio - Wisconsin Badgers - ESPN". Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  10. "Abdullah, Gordon semifinalists for Doak". ESPN. November 14, 2013.
  11. "Melvin Gordon to return to Badgers". ESPN. December 20, 2013.
  12. "10 Spot: Heisman candidates for 2014 - NCAA Football". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  13. Fox Sports (2014-01-24). "Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon is the best value among early 2014 Heisman Trophy odds | FOX Sports on MSN". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  14. Stewart Mandel (2014-04-09). "The Heisman Trophy landscape, playoff implications; more Mailbag - College Football - Stewart Mandel -". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  15. National College Football Lead Writer (2014-05-03). "Top 2014 Candidates Capable of Ending the Running Back Heisman Drought". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  16. "Twenty Big Ten Standouts Named to Maxwell and Bednarik Award Watch Lists". Big Ten Conference. July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  17. 1 2 Patterson, Chip (September 1, 2014). "Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (Hip Flexor) is 'Healthy and Ready to Roll'". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  18. Bennett, Brian (September 1, 2014). "Melvin Gordon Had Hip Injury vs. LSU". ESPN. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  19. Bell, Jeff (September 20, 2014). "Wisconsin Football: Is Melvin Gordon Still a Threat in Heisman Race?". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  20. Nate Loop. "Melvin Gordon's Heisman-Worthy Play Won't Save Wisconsin's Season". Bleacher Report.
  21. " 2014 Midseason College Football All-America Team".
  22. "The 2014 Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists - Maxwell Football Club".
  23. "Melvin Gordon sets FBS rushing record with 408 yards vs. Huskers". Associated Press. November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  24. 1 2 3 Potrykus, Jeff (November 15, 2014). "Melvin Gordon breaks FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  25. "Big Ten Players of the Week: Nov. 17, 2014". Big Ten Conference. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  26. "Gordon earns multiple player of the week honors: Nov 17, 2014". University of Wisconsin. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  27. " Players of the Week (Nov. 17): Gordon makes history". November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  28. "Gordon named Doak Walker semifinalist". University of Wisconsin. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  29. 1 2 "Wisconsin edges Iowa as Melvin Gordon surpasses 2,000 yards". Associated Press. November 22, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  30. 1 2 Melvin Gordon fastest in FBS history to reach 2,000-yard mark by Mike Huguenin,, Published: Nov. 22, 2014, Accessed: Nov. 23, 2014
  31. "Big Ten Football Players of the Week".
  32. Melvin Gordon named finalist for Maxwell, Doak Walker awards By: Mike Fiammetta Date:Nov 25 2014
  33. "Gordon's awards start coming in after record-breaking year - 620 WTMJ - Milwaukee's Source for Local News and Weather". 26 July 2015.
  34. "View 2014 All-Big Ten football teams & individual award winners".
  35. "Wisconsin Badgers' Melvin Gordon named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year". Fox Sports.
  36. "Gordon named Heisman Trophy finalist". University of Wisconsin. December 8, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  37. "Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy". December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  38. 1 2 Bennett, Brian (December 10, 2014). "Melvin Gordon to enter NFL draft". Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  39. Badgers' Melvin Gordon receives Outback Bowl MVP award, talks to the media (YouTube video). ESPN. January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  40. 1 2 3 Temple, Jesse. "Paul Chryst pleased with way his Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff came together".
  41. "Athlete of the Year Nominees: Carlini and Gordon".
  42. 1 2 "Gordon Named B1G's Best Offensive PLayer".
  43. "Melvin Gordon's Ties to San Diego Go Back to Combine Prep". 18 May 2015.
  44. 1 2 "Wisconsin Badgers 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Roundup: How Did Melvin Gordon and Rob Havenstein Fare?". 23 February 2015.
  45. "NFL Events: Combine Top Performers".
  46. Gehlken, Michael (April 30, 2015). "Chargers trade up, draft Melvin Gordon". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  47. "NFL/San Diego Chargers/Melvin Gordon". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  48. " Player Profile:Melvin Gordon". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  49. "Chargers place rookie RB Gordon on IR". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  50. "Melvin Gordon". Retrieved 2016-09-05.

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