Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon thanks Badgers fans on Twitter

Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon had one of the best seasons in FBS history in 2014 and is leaving school early for the NFL draft as the third-leading rusher in school history (4,915 yards in three seasons).

Gordon, a Wisconsin native, took to Twitter to thank Badgers fans for what he called the "opportunity of a lifetime."

Gordon -- listed at 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds by Wisconsin -- is one of the top two running backs available in the draft and is expected to go in the first round; no running back has been selected in the first round in either of the past two drafts.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah rates Gordon as the top running back and the No. 10 prospect overall in the draft; he also has Gordon going 27th overall, to the Dallas Cowboys, in his first mock draft. Fellow analyst Bucky Brooks ranks Gordon as the No. 2 running back, behind Georgia's Todd Gurley, and has him going 26th , to the Baltimore Ravens, in his first mock draft of the year.

Gordon ran for 2,587 yards -- the second-best single-season total in FBS history -- and 29 TDs in 2014. He had six 200-yard games and 12 100-yard outings. He also had 10 games with at least two rushing touchdowns. His explosiveness certainly is one of his biggest selling points; cfbstats.com shows that he led the nation with 60 runs of at least 10 yards, 35 of at least 20 yards (15 more than anyone else), 21 of at least 30, 17 of at least 40 and 10 of at least 50. He ran for more yards by himself than 90 teams.

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

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