Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon was one of 76 players named Monday to the first watch list for the prestigious Maxwell Award, given annually to the top college football player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club.
The award has been given out since 1937 and only one Badger has ever won it, Ron Dayne in 1999.
Gordon, from Kenosha, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season and ran for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns on 206 carries, despite only starting four games.
Gordon led the Big Ten with a 7.8-yard- per-carry average last season and broke the 100-yard mark in eight games, including the first four games of the season and the Badgers’ 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl, when he ran for 143 yards on 25 carries.
He had 193 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries in a loss at Arizona State on Sept. 14 and twice scored three touchdowns in a game, in a win over Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 21 and again in a win at Illinois on Oct. 19.
Gordon burst onto the scene in a big way in the Big Ten Championship in 2012, when he rambled for 216 yards and a score on only nine carries as the Badgers routed Nebraska 70-31 to win their second straight conference title game.
The Big Ten has 10 players on the watch list, including Gordon and:
Maryland: WR Stefon Diggs.
Nebraska: RB Ameer Abdullah.
Northwestern: RB Venric Mark.
Ohio State: QB Braxton Miller.
Penn State: QB Christian Hackenberg.