Over the coming days, we'll highlight a few notable Chargers with their 2016 Media Guide profile. Up next is running back Melvin Gordon.*
The San Diego 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.