The WSN15 series will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of WisSports.net by looking back at the top players, teams, and moments of the past 15 years (2003-2017).
The Top 15 Players countdown is not a recruiting ranking and not indicative of what the players did after high school. It is a ranking of the top high school players, the impact they had for their team, and the dominance they displayed while in high school.
"Tecmo Bowl stats". It was a common phrase used in discussing the senior season of Kenosha Bradford running back Melvin Gordon. Part of a deep and prolific rushing attack for the Red Devils, he carried the ball just 158 times in 13 games, but went for 2,009 yards and 38 touchdowns.
That equates to a rushing average of 12.7 yards per carry, with a touchdown every 4.2 times he touched the ball. It followed up a junior season where he rushed for 1,061 yards and 11 scores on 98 carries.
It was his senior campaign that led to many ooh's and aah's from spectators in southeast Wisconsin. A dynamic and fluid athlete with excellent power as well, he was nearly unstoppable on the outside runs, tosses, and sweeps in Jed Kennedy's flexbone offense.
Gordon rushed for more than 100 yards in all but one game that year (91 on just 8 carries in a Week 3, 56-6 blowout of Racine Park) with a season-high 291 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 2, 48-17 win over then #2 Stevens Point, a state finalist this season in Division 1. He scored a touchdown in all 13 Red Devil games, with multiple scores in all but one contest.
His impressive versatility was also on display with 21 catches in two seasons, going for 597 yards and 7 more scores. Bradford was a state semi-finalist that season, falling to eventual state champion Waukesha West.
After his senior season he took home nearly every major award in the state. He was a WFCA First Team All-State choice and the WFCA's Offensive Player of the Year recipient. He also received the Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch Award from WisSports.net and was a First Team AP All-State choice. Interestingly enough, he lost out on AP Player of the Year honors to Pewaukee's Derek Watt, who would go on to block for him at Wisconsin and in the NFL.
Gordon received numerous big-time scholarship offers, initially giving a commitment to the Iowa Hawkeyes. He would switch his commitment to Wisconsin however, and it worked out well for all parties.
Injuries would limit him to just 98 yards and a touchdown in 2011, when he would earn a medical redshirt. The following year, despite serving as the third-string back behind future pros Montee Ball and James White. In 2013, despite starting just four games, he ran for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn Second Team All-Big Ten.
His 2014 season at Wisconsin was one for the record books. On November 15th of that year he broke the NCAA D1-FBS record for single-game rushing yards, going for 408 yards and four touchdowns on just 25 carries, sitting out the fourth quarter. He would go on to be named an All-American and finish second in the Heisman voting after rushing for 2,587 yards and 38 touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. His yardage total was the second-highest in NCAA FBS history.
Drafted as the 15th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, four spots ahead of his Bradford teammate Trae Waynes, Gordon would battle injuries in his first season. He was limited at times in 2016, but earned a spot in the Pro Bowl after that season. He broke out in a big way in 2017, rushing for 1,105 yards and 8 touchdowns to earn a second straight Pro Bowl selection.
Gordon has put up big numbers running the football at every stop of his career, and it all began at Kenosha Bradford.
#15 - J.J. Watt, Pewaukee
#14 - Jayme Wells, Kimberly
#13 - Travis Frederick, Big Foot
#12 - Travis Beckum, Oak Creek
#11 - Sam Santiago-Lloyd, Brookfield East
#10 - Garrett Groshek, Amherst
#9 - Leo Musso, Waunakee
#8 - Blair Mulholland, Kimberly
#7 - Gabe Carimi, Monona Grove
#6 - Ben Hempel, Franklin
#5 - Mike Newkirk, Ladysmith
#4 - Eric Brunner, Greendale
#3 - John Clay, Racine Park
#2 - Josh Oglesby, Saint Francis
#1 - Melvin Gordon, Kenosha Bradford
For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.