Melvin Gordon is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he attended Mary D. Bradford High School. Melvin was a two-sport star athlete, succeeding in both football and track. As a junior, he racked up 1,098 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, which earned Melvin honorable mention All-state and All-region honors by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA). As a senior, Melvin broke out for 2,009 yards and 38 touchdowns, which earned him first-team All-state honor by the Associated Press and the WFCA. He was also named the Wisconsin Gatorade Football Player of the Year. As a recruit, Melvin was regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, and was ranked the No. 24 running back in the entire nation. ESPN.com also ranked Melvin as the top player in Wisconsin. Following his senior season, he chose to accept a scholarship offer from Wisconsin over Iowa, Michigan and Louisville.
As a freshman at Wisconsin, Melvin made an impact in the first three games of the season, rushing for 98 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. However, Melvin suffered a groin injury in the third game of the year that ended his season and earned him a medical redshirt. The following season, Melvin was the third string running back behind stars Montee Ball and James White. Melvin still saw plenty of action, even rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown against UTEP early in the season. Melvin had his coming out party during the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game against Nebraska, when he rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries, good for a whopping 24 yards per carry. In 2013, Melvin and White split carries for the Badgers and was named a semifinalist for the 2013 Doak Walker Award, which is given to the best running back in college football. Melvin rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns on 206 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per carry. Melvin announced his intent to return to Wisconsin for his senior season with the intent of winning a Big Ten Championship. He was widely viewed as a Heisman Trophy contender going into the 2014 season, and he landed on preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award. Melvin took over as lead back, and he started all 14 games while collecting 2,587 rushing yards and 32 total touchdowns. His rushing total was second in FBS history behind Barry Sanders’ 2,628 yards in 1988. On November 15 against No. 16 Nebraska, Melvin set the FBS single game rushing record with 408 yards. His unbelievable season earned him the Doak Walker Award, and he was named one of three Heisman Trophy finalists joining winner Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper. In his final college game, Melvin set the Outback Bowl rushing record with 251 rushing yards, earning him game MVP.
Melvin entered the 2015 NFL Draft, and on April 30 he was selected No. 15 overall by the San Diego Chargers. Melvin began the season as the Chargers’ starting running back and earned his first career NFL start against the Detroit Lions in Week 1. He finished his opener with 51 rushing yards on 14 carries. He continued to start throughout the season before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Miami Dolphins in December. He finished his rookie season with 184 carries for 641 yards and 33 receptions for 192 receiving yards. He underwent microfracture surgery in January, but was ready for 2016 training camp. Melvin opened up his second season as starting running back, and scored his first two rushing touchdowns of his career in week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished the game with 14 carries for 57 yards. Throughout 2016 Melvin proved himself to be the Chargers top running back. Through Week 11, He rushed for 838 yards, good for fourth most in the NFL. He also reached the end zone 11 total times in the first 10 games. By the end of the season he ran for 997 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 41 receptions and 419 yards and 2 touchdowns. Gordon missed the final 3 games of the 2017 season after suffering a hip and knee injury, leaving him just shy of his first season rushing for 1,000 yards. He was also named to his first pro bowl.