The Chargers kicked off the 2015 NFL Draft by selecting running back Melvin Gordon from the University of Wisconsin in the first round. Winner of the 2014 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back, Gordon led the Chargers in rushing as a rookie with 641 yards.
At Wisconsin, Gordon rushed for 4,915 yards and scored 49 total touchdowns, both third in school history. In addition to his Doak Walker Award, Gordon was the runner-up for the 2014 Heisman Trophy. He also took home the Big Ten's Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year Award and the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award.
Gordon enrolled at Wisconsin in 2011 and a year later he began to garner national attention. He came onto the radar of Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco when he rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game against Nebraska.
Gordon’s redshirt junior season in 2014 showed America that he was ready for the NFL. He rushed for 2,587 yards, a Big Ten record and second-most in FBS history. His 184.8 yards per game average was the most by an FBS player since former Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson averaged 196.2 yards per game for TCU in 2000. Gordon became just the third player in FBS history to rush for at least 2,000 yards and score 30 touchdowns, joining the likes of Barry Sanders and Central Florida’s Kevin Smith.
A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and an only child, both of Gordon’s parents played an instrumental role in his upbringing. His mother, Carmen, a nurse, has never missed one of his games. Before enrolling at Wisconsin, she often shuttled Melvin to and from football camps and combines as far away as Tennessee and Alabama to help his football career. She also stayed after him to maintain good grades and the life science communications major was named to a host of all-academic teams during his college career at Wisconsin. Melvin wore No. 25 for the Badgers because it was his mother’s age when he was born.
Gordon’s father, Melvin, Sr., has also played an instrumental role. He taught his son the importance of strength and conditioning. The family had a weight room in the basement of their Kenosha home and Melvin, Sr., was a regular fixture in the weight room at Bradford High School. Gordon continued his intense training regimen at Wisconsin where he once ran every step in Camp Randall Stadium while wearing a weighted vest. The elder Gordon also made sure that his son had an appreciation for the NFL’s great running backs who had helped pave the way. Melvin, Sr., who had once played semi-pro football, used to show his son tapes of great running backs like Barry Sanders and Walter Payton.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: First-round pick (15) by Chargers, April 30, 2015...signed May 15.
2015: Three 20-plus yard carries Sept. 20 at Cincinnati, most in game by Charger since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2007...Team Captain Oct. 18 at Green Bay...rushed for 41 yards before leaving Miami game Dec. 20 in second quarter with knee injury...placed on “Reserve-Injured” Dec. 22.
COLLEGE: Consensus first-team All-America and All-Big Ten as redshirt junior in 2014...honorable mention All-America and second-team all-conference as redshirt sophomore in 2013...two-time Academic All-Big Ten...fastest player in FBS history to 2,000 yards (241 carries) in 2014...averaged FBS-record 7.8 yards per carry for career...set FBS single-game record with 408 yards in win 2014 over Nebraska...most valuable player of 2015 Outback Bowl after rushing for Outback Bowl-record 258 yards and three TDs in 34-31 OT win vs. Auburn...32 touchdowns in 2014 led NCAA and was second in school and conference history...set school records for 100-yard (12) and 200-yard (six) games in season in 2014...also led nation with 17 runs of 40-plus yards and 10 runs of 50-plus yards, while leading FBS in runs of 10-plus (60), 20-plus (35) and 30-plus (21) yards...tied school record with five rushing touchdowns vs. Bowling Green in 2014...rushed for 1,609 yards as junior, second in Big Ten history and most in school history...led nation and set school record with 7.8 ypc average...only player in nation with three runs of 70-plus yards and tied for most runs of 60-plus yards (four) in 2013...finished career with 631 carries for 4,915 yards and 45 touchdowns, and 22 catches for 228 yards and four scores...played at Wisconsin from 2011-14, though granted medical redshirt in 2011.
PERSONAL: Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin...first-team all-state, Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Offensive Player of Year, Gatorade Player of Year and conference player of year as senior at Bradford High School in Kenosha...honorable mention all-state, all-region, all-area and all-county as junior.