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Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon says he will return for junior season

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Andy Manis / Associated Press
Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon has 12 touchdowns this season, but scored only once in the final five games.

Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon will return for his junior season, he announced Friday through a statement released by the school.

Gordon (6-foot-1, 207 pounds), a third-year sophomore who is the No. 3 rusher in the Big Ten this season (122.2 yards per game), had asked for input from the NFL Draft Advisory Board but had said he would make his decision after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against South Carolina.

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"After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I have decided to come back next year," Gordon said in the release. "I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth."

Gordon is one of the most explosive backs in the nation and rushed for 100 yards six times in the first seven games of the season. But he reached that plateau just once in the final five games. Of his 12 TDs, only one came in the final five games.

Gordon will be the Badgers' unquestioned feature back in 2014 and should enter the season as a Heisman Trophy front-runner. He still is likely to share carries with sophomore-to-be Corey Clement. Gordon needs to become a more well-rounded back and show scouts he can block and be used as a receiver; he has just three receptions in two seasons.

Gordon has rushed for at least 140 yards in seven of Wisconsin's 12 games this season. That trails only Boston College's Andre Williams (eight) and Washington’s Bishop Sankey (eight) for the most 140-yard outings this season.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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