Kenosha’s Melvin Gordon made his NFL career official Thursday when he signed a four-year contract with the San Diego Chargers, according to media reports.
As a first-round draft pick, the contract includes a standard team option for a fifth year. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Kenosha’s Zac Epping won’t have to go far for a crack at the National Football League.
There is also a chance the Tremper graduate will be reunited with former teammate Trae Waynes.
Natural athleticism was a huge factor, of course, but it wasn’t a simple stroke of luck that got Trae Waynes, Melvin Gordon and Zac Epping this far.
This is their story, not just from the players themselves, but from those who watched them closest:
The Kenosha News obtained some of the following quotes on Trae Waynes, Melvin Gordon and Zac Epping in a phone interview with Dave-Te’ Thomas, the director of operations for NFL Scouting Services. Thomas, the godson of legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, has scouted the NFL since 1968 at age 14 and provides reports on players to 27 of the league’s 32 clubs.
The other comments are from a conference call with NFL Network analyst/draft expert Mike Mayock in which the Kenosha News participated and those published in Sports Illustrated’s NFL draft issue.
If all goes as expected, Melvin Gordon and Trae Waynes will be joining an exclusive club on Thursday night.
Projected as first-round choices in the 80th annual NFL draft, the former Bradford Red Devils would become only the fifth set of high school teammates selected in the first round of the same draft since 1990.
MADISON — Wisconsin running back Corey Clement was taking a break at spring practice when a former teammate leaned over with a question.
Kenosha’s Melvin Gordon is still trying to make Clement better even if the runner-up for this year’s Heisman Award is no longer a Badger.
The NFL scouting combine is a test of body and mind.
It is as much a physical showcase as it is a mental marathon and Kenosha native Melvin Gordon ran the gauntlet of tests at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis last week.
Bradford graduate Melvin Gordon was the center of attention at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday.
Here is a look in photos at the former Wisconsin running back’s day with the media as he prepares for an NFL career.
MADISON (AP) — Running back Melvin Gordon is giving thanks to Wisconsin fans before turning his attention to getting ready for the NFL draft.
The Bradford graduate posted a thank-you letter on his Twitter account and on Wisconsin’s athletic Web site on Wednesday.
Trae Waynes made it official: Thursday’s Cotton Bowl was his final game as a Michigan State Spartan.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Wisconsin hoisted Barry Alvarez into the air for one more victory ride.
The school’s career victory leader called it quits — again — after the 17th-ranked Badgers took down No. 19 Auburn 34-31 in overtime in the Outback Bowl on Thursday.
No. 17 Wisconsin (10-3) vs. No. 19 Auburn (8-4), 11 a.m. Thursday (ESPN2)
Series: Tied 1-1-1.
TAMPA, Fla. — Auburn and Wisconsin began the season with aspirations of competing in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
While the 19th-ranked Tigers and No. 17 Badgers fell well short of that goal, they’re hardly disappointed to be playing in today’s Outback Bowl.
Trae Waynes would not confirm if the Cotton Bowl Classic will be his last game for the Michigan State University football team when the eighth-ranked Spartans face fifth-ranked Baylor at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.
He only made it clear that he’s just focused on the game itself.
Zac Epping vowed that this year’s bowl game won’t be a repeat of last year’s for the University of Minnesota football team.
Not that Epping — a Tremper graduate and redshirt senior left guard who’s started 46 straight games for the Golden Gophers — guaranteed victory, but he did guarantee that the team would be better prepared for its bowl game than last year, when Epping admitted that the Golden Gophers weren’t as prepared as they should’ve been before a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl.
MADISON — Not that he needs any extra motivation, but Melvin Gordon has a few options when he plays in his final football game for the University of Wisconsin.
The dynamic fourth-year junior will look to cement his legacy as one of the top running backs in program history when the No. 17 Badgers take on Auburn in the Outback Bowl 11 a.m. Thursday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
MADISON — In Sunday night’s 35-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch delivered the knockout punch with an amazing 79-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Colorado State-Pueblo didn’t have a football program seven years ago.
Now, there is none better in Division II.
As the Kansas-bound bus carrying the Minnesota State University football team rolled through Iowa on Wednesday night, Justin Otto shared a sparkling personal statistic with a teammate.
“Between my junior and senior year of high school and my first three years here, I’ve lost five games total,” the fourth-year junior cornerback said. “That’s pretty unreal.”
MADISON — Paul Chryst is back at Wisconsin, settling into familiar surroundings in his hometown.
This time, with a bigger office.
Marcus Mariota wrote it all down, every word of his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. It was a good thing, too, because getting through it might have been tougher than sprinting away from linebacker or tossing a long touchdown pass for the Oregon Ducks.
The understated star quarterback became Oregon’s first Heisman winner going away Saturday night, capping a three-year climb to college football’s most prestigious individual award.
The voice sounded a little weary. The steps were a bit slow, at least compared to Melvin Gordon’s usual gait around Camp Randall Stadium.
Nearing the end of a memorable season, 17th-ranked Wisconsin’s star running back sounded and looked like he could use a pick-me-up days after his team’s humbling 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon made it official Wednesday, skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Unlike the departure of coach Gary Andersen for Oregon State, this move was expected in Madison.
MADISON — Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said he hopes to have a replacement for coach Gary Andersen before the 17th-ranked Badgers’ bowl game Jan. 1.
Andersen’s departure for Oregon State on Wednesday stunned Madison.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown
2 Joel Stave QB 6-5 219 RS SR Greenfield
3 Tanner McEvoy S 6-6 231 RS SR Hillsdale, N.J.
5 Darius Hillary CB 5-11 187 RS SR Cincinnati
6 Corey Clement RB 5-11 219 JR Glassboro, N.J.
7 D.J. Gillins QB 6-3 198 RS FR Jacksonville, Fla.
7 Michael Caputo S 6-1 206 RS SR Imperial, Pa.
8 Sojourn Shelton CB 5-9 176 JR Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
9 Jordan Fredrick WR 6-4 208 RS SR Madison
9 Titus Booker CB 5-11 187 FR Round Lake Beach, Ill.
10 Rafael Gaglianone K 5-11 240 SO Sao Paulo, Brazil
11 T.J. Reynard CB 5-10 170 SR Virginia Beach, Va.
11 Jazz Peavy WR 6-0 189 RS SO Kenosha (Tremper)
12 Alex Hornibrook QB 6-4 211 FR West Chester, Pa.
12 Natrell Jamerson CB 6-0 191 SO Ocala, Fla.
13 Evan Bondoc S 6-1 201 RS FR Madison
13 Bart Houston QB 6-4 224 RS JR Dublin, Calif.
14 D’Cota Dixon S 5-10 203 SO Oak Hill, Fla.
14 Thad Armstrong QB 6-5 213 RS JR Ottawa, Ill.
15 Robert Wheelwright WR 6-3 202 JR Columbus, Ohio
16 Reggie Love WR 6-3 216 RS JR Boynton Beach, Fla.
19 Leo Musso S 5-10 186 RS JR Waunakee
20 Austin Ramesh FB 6-1 246 RS SO Land O’ Lakes
21 Arrington Farrar S 6-2 215 FR Atlanta
21 Mark Saari RB 6-0 208 RS FR Montrel
22 Caleb Kinlaw RB 5-10 190 RS FR Goose Creek, S.C.
23 Dare Ogunbowale RB 5-11 200 RS JR Milwaukee
24 Keelon Brookins ILB 5-11 213 RS SO St. Paul, Minn.
24 John Damrow TE 6-3 225 SO Delavan
24 Ricky Finco WR 5-8 185 SO Hartland
25 Derrick Tindal CB 5-11 176 SO Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
26 Derek Straus FB 6-1 227 RS SR Waunakee
26 Elijah Strong CB 6-0 170 FR Oak Creek
27 Bradrick Shaw RB 6-1 205 FR Birmingham, Ala.
28 Taiwan Deal RB 6-1 220 RS FR Capitol Heights, Md.
29 Max Praschak OLB 6-2 198 FR Somerset
29 Terrance Floyd CB 5-10 198 RS SR Boynton Beach, Fla.
30 Jake Whalen OLB 6-1 229 FR Wausau
30 Serge Trezy RB 6-2 202 RS JR Orlando, Fla.
31 Lubern Figaro S 6-0 181 SO Everett, Mass.
32 Leon Jacobs ILB 6-2 233 JR Santa Clarita, Calif.
32 Noah Stengel WR 6-2 201 RS FR Sheboygan
34 Derek Watt FB 6-2 236 RS SR Pewaukee
34 Chikwe Obasih DE 6-3 268 RS SO Brookfield
36 Troy Laufenberg RB 5-10 190 FR Waunakee
36 Joe Ferguson S 6-1 195 RS SO Madison
37 Andrew Endicott K 5-9 172 JR Roseville, Calif.
37 Bret Verstegen S 5-11 182 FR Kimberly
38 P.J. Rosowski P 6-3 199 RS FR Stoughton
39 Zach Hintze K 6-0 170 FR Fond du Lac
41 Hayes, Jesse OLB 6-3 233 RS SR Cincinnati, Ohio (Moeller)
41 Henry Houden WR 6-4 194 FR Madison
42 T.J. Watt OLB 6-5 244 RS SO Pewaukee
43 Peter Roy WR 6-0 186 RS FR Muskego
43 Ryan Connelly ILB 6-3 233 RS FR Eden Prairie, Minn.
44 Eric Steffes TE 6-5 255 RS JR Mount Calvary
45 Nick Thomas ILB 6-2 224 FR Bradenton, Fla.
46 Austin Traylor TE 6-4 245 RS SR Columbus, Ohio
47 Mitchell Herl TE 6-4 217 FR Middleton
47 Vince Biegel OLB 6-4 246 RS JR Wisconsin Rapids
48 Jack Cichy OLB 6-2 223 RS SO Somerset
49 Kyle Penniston TE 6-4 233 FR Orange, Calif.
50 Chris Orr ILB 6-0 228 FR Desoto, Texas
51 Alec Ingold ILB 6-2 237 FR Green Bay
52 Jacob Maxwell OL 6-6 309 RS FR Greendale
52 Kellen Jones ILB 6-0 230 RS SR Houston
52 David Pfaff DE 6-2 257 FR Mequon
53 T.J. Edwards ILB 6-1 238 RS FR Lake Villa, Ill.
54 Ty DeForest ILB 6-0 220 FR Marshall
55 Garret Dooley OLB 6-3 234 RS SO Rochester, Ill.
56 Zack Baun OLB 6-3 221 FR Milwaukee
57 Alec James DE 6-3 264 RS SO Brookfield
58 Joe Schobert OLB 6-2 236 SR Waukesha
58 George Panos OL 6-5 321 RS FR Hartland
59 Tyler Johnson OLB 6-3 234 FR Menasha
60 Connor Udelhoven LS 6-0 225 RS JR St. Paul, Minn.
61 Tyler Marz OL 6-7 325 RS SR Springfield, Minn.
62 Walker Williams OL 6-7 321 RS JR Tacoma, Wash.
63 Michael Deiter OL 6-6 316 RS FR Curtice, Ohio
64 Brett Connors OL 6-6 310 RS FR New Berlin
65 Ryan Ramczyk OL 6-6 297 JR Stevens Point
65 Olive Sagapolu NT 6-2 332 FR Huntington Beach, Calif.
66 Kelly Thomas DE 6-6 246 FR Racine
66 Beau Benzschawel OL 6-6 308 RS FR Grafton
67 Jon Dietzen OL 6-6 329 FR Black Creek
68 David Moorman OL 6-5 288 FR Northville, Mich.
69 Aidan McNamara OL 6-4 314 RS SO Madison
70 Dan Voltz OL 6-3 301 RS JR Barrington, Ill.
71 Ray Ball OL 6-7 321 RS SR Columbus, Ohio
73 Kevin Estes OL 6-5 273 FR San Marcos, Calif.
74 Hayden Biegel OL 6-7 299 RS SO Wisconsin Rapids
74 Gunnar Roberge NT 6-4 299 FR Seymour
75 Micah Kapoi OL 6-3 330 RS FR Kapolei, Hawaii
76 Logan Schmidt OL 6-4 303 RS JR Gotham
77 Ian Dretzka OL 6-6 312 FR Delafield
78 Jason Erdmann OL 6-6 326 FR Richfield
79 Ben Hemer OL 6-6 299 RS SO Medford
81 Troy Fumagalli TE 6-6 247 RS SO Naperville, Ill.
82 A.J. Jordan WR 6-0 195 RS SR Dayton, Ohio
84 Andrew James WR 6-0 166 FR Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
85 Krenwick Sanders WR 6-2 204 SO Jesup, Ga.
86 Alex Erickson WR 6-0 197 RS SR Darlington
87 George Rushing WR 6-1 180 SO Miramar, Fla.
89 David Edwards TE 6-7 239 FR Downers Grove, Ill.
90 Drew Meyer P 6-3 189 RS SR Hartland
91 Zander Neuville DE 6-5 255 RS FR Waupaca
92 Jeremy Patterson NT 6-3 335 RS FR Screven, Ga.
93 Jake Keefer DE 6-3 273 RS SR Woodville
94 Conor Sheehy NT 6-4 272 SO Milwaukee
95 Arthur Goldberg DE 6-3 296 RS JR Mount Lebanon, Pa.
96 Billy Hirschfeld DE 6-6 287 RS FR Okauchee
96 Connor Allen P 6-0 170 FR New Berlin
97 Jack Russell K 6-0 175 SR Waunakee
97 Andrew Ruzek DE 6-6 258 FR Stevens Point
98 Kraig Howe DE 6-3 241 FR Dayton, Ohio
Paul Chryst, Head Coach; Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator/ILB; Joe Rudolph, Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/OL; Inoke Breckterfield, Defensive Line; Ted Gilmore, Wide Receivers; Chris Haering, Special Teams; Daronte’ Jones, Defensive Backs; John Settle, Running Backs; Tim Tibesar, Outside Linebackers; Mickey Turner, Tight Ends; Ethan Armstrong, Graduate Assistant Defense; Antonio Fenelus, Graduate Assistant Defense; Jon Budmayr, Graduate Assistant Offense; Bill Nagy, Graduate Assistant Offense; Taylor Mehlhaff, Quality Control Special Teams; Ross Kolodziej, Head Strength & Conditioning; Shaun Snee, Assistant Strength & Conditioning; Jamil Walker, Assistant Strength & Conditioning; Bradie Ewing, Assistant Strength & Conditioning; Kyle Costigan, Strength & Conditioning Graduate Assistant.
Sept. 5 — vs. Alabama, at Arlington, Texas, 7 p.m. (ABC)
Sept. 12 — Miami (Ohio), 11 a.m. (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Sept 19 — Troy, 2:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Sept. 26 — Hawaii, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Oct. 3 — Iowa, TBA
Oct. 10 — at Nebraska, TBA
Oct. 17 — Purdue, 11 a.m.
Oct. 24 — at Illinois, 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 31 — Rutgers, TBA
Nov. 11 — at Maryland, 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 — Northwestern, TBA
Nov. 28 — at Minnesota, TBA