Christopher Smith

RB Melvin Gordon To Return To Wisconsin In '14

Created on Dec. 20, 2013 5:53 PM EST

Wisconsin's second-team All-Big Ten running back Melvin Gordon will return to the team for his redshirt junior season rather than declare for the NFL Draft, the team announced Friday.

Gordon, who rushed for 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, averaged a remarkable 8.1 yards per carry as a Doak Walker Award semifinalist.

"I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth," Gordon said in a statement. "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."

At 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, Gordon led the nation with four runs of at least 60 yards and teamed with senior James White to form the nation's eighth-best rushing offense.

But Gordon sputtered in November, topping 100 yards just once in five games, as White shouldered more of the load. He's following the lead of Montee Ball, who made the same decision to return to school in 2012 as a senior, and though his numbers "dipped" to 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns, Denver drafted Ball in the second round this year.

Media close to the program applauded the decision Friday, citing Gordon's need to improve in pass protection and his lack of production as a receiver, two vital skills for running backs in today's NFL.

It's great news for Wisconsin, which loses White as well as top receivers Jared Abbrederis and Jacob Pedersen.

The Badgers face South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.