You know what to get Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen for Christmas? You can get him another season from tailback Melvin Gordon.
Gordon, a third-year sophomore who is the No. 3 rusher in the Big Ten this season (122.2 yards per game), announced last week that he has asked for input from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Gordon (6-foot-1, 207 pounds) and the Badgers play South Carolina in the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl, and Gordon said he will make his decision after the bowl game.
Andersen was on the College Football 24/7 Podcast on Tuesday and expressed immense satisfaction with how Gordon and senior tailback James White (111.4 yards per game) have shared carries this season.
"I believe that they're both next-level performers when the opportunity knocks, and that's for James this year, and hopefully, that's at least a year away for Melvin Gordon," Andersen said.
Andersen told reporters last week that he has told Gordon he should return for his junior season.
Gordon rushed for 100 yards six times in the first seven games of the season, but just once in the final five games. Of his 12 TDs, only one came in the final five games.
Andersen also expressed admiration for senior linebacker Chris Borland, who was the Big Ten's defensive MVP and led the Badgers with 102 tackles. He has 411 stops in his career, second-most among active players to San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith's 476 tackles. Borland (5-foot-11, 246) is the only inside linebacker who has been announced thus far as a participant in the 2014 Senior Bowl.
Andersen praised Borland's intensity and instincts, and said the player "has made me a better person" as well as a better coach.
"He's going to play in the NFL for a long time," Andersen said.