As the calendar turned to December, most of the speculation and rumors surrounding Wisconsin football involved the pending decision of star running back Melvin Gordon.
Unlike in years past though, no one had to wait until the end of the process to find out his answer. Gordon is staying at Wisconsin for at least another year.
“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I have decided to come back next year,” Gordon said. “I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth. Academically, another year in school will help me get closer to completing my degree and on the field I hope to help my team get back the Big Ten championship.
“With this decision out of the way I can now focus on helping my team prepare for the Capital One Bowl and a great opponent in South Carolina.”
With that announcement, we have one of our own here—Melvin Gordon made the right choice.
Yes, Gordon ran for 1,466 yards, scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 8.1 yards a carry this season.
However, an injury against Ohio State seemed to slow what was a hugely successful start to the season and by the end of the year his momentum was gone.
Gordon ran for over 140 yards in each of his first four games, but in the final five, he ran for over 100 yards just once.
Not only that, but he scored just one touchdown and had begun to be passed over in tough situations by senior James White.
It's not a slight to Gordon's ability, but he needs to fine-tune a few things—especially showcasing an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and pass-protect.
Gordon's talents will undoubtedly translate well to the next level, but in the NFL you need to be an all-around back to be on the field consistently.
That's not what Gordon is just yet.
He was a great end-around, jet sweep and outside the tackles player in his freshman campaign. In 2013, Gordon showed an ability to be an every down back and a between the tackles runner.
Now, heading into next season, he has an opportunity to showcase a full-range of skills has a running back.
James White won't be in the backfield and while Corey Clement and a highly rated class of backs will be in the fold—2014 will be all about Melvin Gordon.
It's his best chance to win the Heisman, a goal he clearly wants for himself, and to showcase a full repertoire for the NFL scouts that will be following his every move on Saturday's next fall.
He'd do himself a ton of good by starting it all off with a great game against South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl as well.