IOWA CITY, Ia. – The Iowa coaching staff fell in love with Melvin Gordon when he was running past people at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis.
“We thought he was an outstanding young man and an outstanding prospect,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It didn’t take Einstein to figure that out.”
Gordon accepted the Hawkeyes’ scholarship offer, than changed his mind and signed with Wisconsin. Ferentz calls that jilting ancient history.
“We dated for awhile, and he picked the home-state school, which is usually not a big news headline,” Ferentz said.
But in this case, it is. Gordon ran into the national spotlight last weekend against Nebraska. He rushed for an FBS-record 408 yards against the Cornhuskers. Now the nation’s leading rusher at 1,909 yards, Gordon enters Saturday’s game with Iowa at Kinnick Stadium needing 201 more to break former Badger Ron Dayne’s single-season Big Ten record of 2,109 yards.
“He’s got a phenomenal skill set,” Ferentz said. “But you can just see on film that he has a personality. He’s really an enthusiastic, energetic player. Very strong-willed. He’s got all those attributes. And he’s been able to stay healthy.”
Gordon passed LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU as the single-game FBS rushing leader. Tomlinson had 406 yards, followed by Tony Sands of Kansas (396), Marshall Faulk of San Diego State (386) and Troy Davis of Iowa State (378).
“The class (Gordon) entered is a pretty small class,” Ferentz said. “Those guys could fit in a small car. The car I had in college. They could all fit in there.”