This is what respect looks like.
Gordon didn’t need the uncomfortably hot sitdown on the union’s patio to perk up quickly for an interview. About 10 minutes in, he reveals what he’s really after.
The running back crown.
Then he reveals what might be in his way.
SEC running backs.
Specifically, Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon.
This is not a derivative of empty football trash talk that floods message boards and timelines. Gordon actually does a ton of research on his running back competition. He followed Gurley and Yeldon “heavily” last season, he says, searching for stats on his iPad whenever WiFi allowed. There’s healthy admiration here.
That this could be a historically loaded tailback class nationally isn’t lost on Gordon, a redshirt junior who eschewed the NFL draft after a 1,609-yard season in part to compete against the best.
As the NFL continues to devalue running backs, these three have potential first-round ability and play in systems that run the ball by committee, which helps stave off injury.
Gordon respects them but make no mistake. He is coming for them. The race for the country’s best running back — and possibly a Heisman invite — is “on.”
“It’s been on,” said Gordon, whose Badgers open the season against another tailback factory, LSU. “I’m competing against everybody, Gurley included.”