Though a bit premature, and assuming he stays healthy for another couple months, let's all welcome Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon to the green room of the NFL draft in Chicago next April 30.
He won't sit there long, and he's probably not going to get drafted by the NFL team he has wanted to play for his whole life. But the junior would have to be absolutely crazy not to declare for the draft after he's played in whatever bowl game the Badgers wind up going to. He'll likely be a Top 5 pick. His draft stock will never be higher. The welcoming to the multi-millionaire club draws nigh.
And though he hasn't publicly said so, it's hard to believe Gordon's dream wouldn't be playing for the Packers. He was born, raised, and grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was a high-school football star there. Gordon snubbed out of state scholarship offers, including Iowa and Michigan (turns out, a smart move), to play for Wisconsin. The man has "cheeser" written all over him. But unless the Packers somehow trade up on draft day, there's no way Gordon will be playing his professional home games at Lambeau Field. He'll be long gone before the Packers would otherwise pick. Besides, the Pack already has a featured running back in Eddie Lacy, a terrific young talent out of Alabama. So for the first time in his football life, Melvin will likely find himself playing for a team in another state.
In the recent game against Nebraska, Gordon broke the all-time single game major college football rushing record by accumulating 408 yards. The "all time" thing itself is noteworthy enough. That takes in a lot of players, even future NFL Hall of Famers that were hot stuff in college. Names like O.J, Billy, Barry, and Eric come to mind.
True, Gordon only surpassed previous record holder LaDainian Tomlinson's 406 yards by a measly two. But while at TCU, Tomlinson accomplished his feat against UTEP, which was, and remains not exactly known for it's defensive prowess -- or any prowess for that matter.
What's truly incredible is Gordon racked up his 408 rushing yards in only the first THREE QUARTERS against the #16 Cornhuskers. He would sit out the entire fourth quarter. On a reasonable 25 carries, Gordon averaged 16.3 yards a pop. Had he been left in for the final quarter against a defense that was obviously worn down -- he might well have rushed for another 100-150 yards, setting the mark so far out of sight, nobody would ever approach it again. It was a Melvin kind of day, and hats off to the Kenosha Kid for setting the record. Very impressive indeed.
Note to Melvin. Don't get carried away with the "On Wisconsin" stuff and be silly enough to return for another year. Yep, you're the big man on campus right now and have pretty girls galore fawning all over you. But you're also always one play away from a potential career ending injury. If that happens, you'll stay in Wisconsin, but probably not working at the kind of job you had planned on. And there's the little matter of a few million bucks at stake.
Congrats on the record, and may you rack up monster rushing yardage in the Iowa, Minnesota, and whatever bowl game your Badgers land in to pad your stats even further.
But when that is said and done -- here's your bucket list......
Do not pass GO and/or collect $200 under the table from a Wisconsin booster trying to lure you back for your senior season.
Declare for the NFL draft and hire an agent, preferably not Bieber, or anybody he hangs out with.
Work your butt off for the next several months to not only stay in shape, but get even stronger.
Stay away from the clubs and bimbos. Lots of things can happen with that combination, and most of them are bad. The NFL scouts will have you under a microscope.
Then hope like hell some good team trades up to draft you. A few years in Jacksonville or Oakland is not exactly the best scenario.
Be looking for you in the green room next year.