Late on Thursday afternoon, top running back prospect Melvin Gordon took to the stage at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Gordon addressed a variety of topics relating to this year's running back class, his former teammates now in the NFL, and a former teammate who is ready to take the reins as the Wisconsin Badgers' lead tailback.
Here's the full transcript from Gordon's media session.
On no running backs going in the first round the last few years:
You know, there's a lot of running backs out here that's trying to break that trend. We've been trying to show people all year that we're capable of being drafted first round, that's been a lot of our goals and hopefully we can change that.
I think it's a great class of running backs, we have a lot of talent in this class. I talk to a lot of the guys, I think we're a close group, and I think we just have the talent to go first (round) this year.
It's a passing league. It's hard to say we're a devalued position. I guess teams just going with the picks they actually need. I don't know the thoughts that's going through their head. Maybe they didn't feel the running backs the last couple years were first-round talent. Le'Veon Bell and Gio (Bernard)'s pretty good. I can't answer that though. We just have to change that this year and go first round.
On former Wisconsin RB coach and current Ravens RB coach Thomas Hammock:
I talked to coach Hammock a little bit, but I learned a lot from him. He's a big reason I'm here standing today. He taught me so much from the mental aspect of the game. He brought me along and it was a tough road, it was tough, we went through a lot, but I can definitely say it's because of him I'm standing here today.
Was there any significance to the Detroit Lions hat that he wore recently?
I like all NFL teams, I like the color. So I just got the Lions hat...I know a lot of people was giving me stuff about it on Twitter. I don't have a favorite team, I got too many (former Wisconsin) teammates that play on (different) teams so I kinda just go with whatever.
What running backs influence him?
I watch a lot of running backs and I try to take different bits and pieces of their game and mix it with mine. Obviously, you can't be that back, every back is different. I'm not Jamaal Charles, Jamaal Charles is his own man. He's a phenomenal player in the NFL. We are similar, you know, he's got that little burst, I don't think I have that. I try to take different things from each every player that's in the league that's successful and mix it with my own game.
Have James White or other former teammates helped him prepare for the draft?
I talk to James and Montee (Ball) all the time. I'm really close with those guys still. I've been talking with James a lot throughout this process. He's been coaching me up, he told me it's gonna be a mental grind but you'll be able to handle it, you'll be able to get through it. Any questions I have, about what did you experience in your interviews, he was there letting me know. Jared Abbrederis, it was a lot of teammates that reached out to me and tried to fill me in and help me out
How did it feel coming up just short of Barry Sanders' rushing record?
To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Barry Sanders is an honor. That's a great person to be second to. Great player, phenomenal player. I was 40 yards away, it sucked a little bit, but it is what it is. It's standing there for someone else to break.
Was he motivated by comments from Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne before the Outback Bowl about the strength of the Big Ten?
I was real motivated. I felt like he took a shot at not just me but all the Big Ten running backs. At the end of the day, you have to suit up and you have to go out there and play ball. Talking really don't get you anywhere. I was excited. It wasn't just because of him I was motivated. It was our last game, I wanted to win that bowl game, I knew it was my last game to try to help this team win a bowl, we haven't won our bowl in four years so that was enough motivation for me right there.
Is he happy with his decision to return to school for his junior year?
It's a decision I'm proud of. I came back because I wanted to be a more complete running back, a better football player. I think I achieved that. I showed people that I don't need James or Montee to go out there and pass protect. I wasn't perfect, not everyone is. You make some mistakes, but they can count on me and that's what I wanted to show in the passing game, the running game, and in pass protect.
Is he nervous preparing for interviews at the Combine?
Losing sleep each and every night. They said take every interview as if it was a game and that's how I do. Laying in bed at night, youthink about what this coach is going to say. You get a little nervous, but I'm excited about this whole process.
How fast does he want to run in the 40?
I don't know. My goal is 4.4 or 4.5, I just want to run fast, that's it. That's all I know.
Was he disappointed that only two Badgers were invited to the Combine?
Not really, some great key guys on our team they got hurt, so I knew that would kind of affect them a little bit. That kind of killed their opportunity to come here. I do believe if our guys were healthy, without a doubt there would be more Badgers here.
Discussing his expanded role in the passing game:
It was real important, not just to boost my NFL stock but to help our team in a different way. I just wanted to go out there and show people that I could do that. I didn't get as many opportunities as other people, I know that, and there's still questions about me being able to catch the ball, and I know that too. The opportunities I got, I did my best to show people that I could catch the ball and that people can count on me in the passing game.
APC: What kind of running back is Corey Clement, the next man up at running back at Wisconsin?
I'm excited about Corey. I'm really excited about him. He works so hard, he works like a senior would. (It's) his last chance, his last chance to show anybody what he got. His balance, his vision is great. He sees some things, he do some things and I'm just like 'wow', you know. He's stronger than most people think, he's faster than what most people think. His vision and his cuts will get him places. I'm excited to watch Corey. He's grown, he's a smarter football player, and he'll be ready to take on this team and carry the team and carry Wisconsin next year.
Editor's Note: this article originally identified Thomas Hammock as the running backs coach for the Carolina Panthers. We apologize for the error.