Clearing the Air

Kenosha Bradford running back Melvin Gordon has been the talk of the town all season long. After grabbing the headlines with his state-leading 38 rushing touchdowns, Gordon saw the rumor mill turning full blast involving his recruitment. Now, the three-star running back is ready to talk, and he does so with Badger Nation.

MADISON – From locker room fights, de-commitments and switching schools, Kenosha Bradford running back Melvin Gordon has heard it all over the past week regarding his much publicized recruitment.

Gordon, a three-star running back ranked No.39 in the country by Scout.com, made his initial decision at the end of August, choosing Iowa ahead of scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Syracuse, Tennessee, Washington State and Wisconsin.

After finishing his season with 158 carries for 2,009 yards, an average of 12.7 yards per carry and leading the state with 38 rushing touchdowns and taking his latest official visit, Gordon is finally ready to set the record straight.

"I am de-committed right now," Gordon told Badger Nation Friday night. "I told the Iowa coaches that I wanted to be closer to home so my family can come and support me, come to my games every Saturday if they are home. My family is a big part of my life and I want to be there for them.

"I talked to Coach Erb and Coach Ferentz today and told them why I de-committed from them."

So if Gordon, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, is de-committed from Iowa, has the state's top running back committed to anybody?

"I am not committed to anyone, but most likely will commit to Wisconsin," Gordon said. "I am not looking at any other schools."

Gordon took his official visit to Iowa City last week and watched the Hawkeyes fall to Ohio State, 20-17. Gordon then made his decision to re-open his recruitment, emphasizing that his choice to become unaligned with any program was purely a personal one, and directly referenced a report about unrest in the Hawkeye football locker room as the main reason for his change of heart.

"I heard rumors about some fight I saw in the locker room (and) I don't know where that came from," Gordon said. "I didn't see any fight and I didn't know how that came up in the picture. I was thinking about going to Wisconsin before taking my visit to Iowa. The atmosphere was OK. I think the atmosphere was a little better at Wisconsin for the Ohio State game. I liked it a little better at Wisconsin."

While Gordon acknowledged that most schools backed off after he made his decision public, the senior acknowledged how impressive it was to look behind the bench at Bradford and see UW Coach Bret Bielema watching and supporting.

"There coach came to a lot of football games and I thought that was real cool," Gordon said. "To have the head coach at the football meant a lot. They sent a lot of letters … a lot of letters. They never stopped recruiting me, which showed me they cared."

In addition to the Badgers' pitch about Gordon being close to home and playing in a similar system, Wisconsin noted that Gordon would be able to compete with three running backs that have all gained over 600 yards and scored 13 touchdowns this season.

"Everything is about competition," Gordon said. "I would have competition whether I would go to Wisconsin or Iowa. They have Adam Robinson, Marcus Coker and a lot of young backs. Wisconsin has John Clay, Montee Ball and James White. I think if I go in and play my game, I'll be fine. (Wisconsin and I) had the whole issue with the DB offer, but we got that straightened out. If I want to be a running back, that's what I am going to be."

Gordon will take an unofficial visit to Wisconsin for the season finale against Northwestern and will this official visit to Madison to next weekend. Should he become Wisconsin's 21st verbal commitment, the Badgers would lay claim to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Offensive Player of the Year (Gordon), the AP High School Player of the Year (Derek Watt) and the state's only four-star recruit (Jake Keefer).

Don't count Iowa out of the picture just yet, as Running Back Coach Lester Erb will visit with Gordon and his family on Monday to make his final pitch. The visit with Erb is the main reason Gordon remains uncommitted.

"We have such a good, close relationship so I want to hear what he has to say," Gordon said. "He told me don't do anything crazy, don't commit and hold strong. When he gets there, he's going to tell me what he thinks. After that, he said whatever we want to do, we should do."

So, can Gordon see himself back at Iowa?

"I don't know," Gordon said. "I just really want to be close to home and I really want my family to be there. I think I'll be at Wisconsin."


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