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July 28, 2014

Badgers duo earn preseason recognition

CHICAGO -- Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Rob Havenstein earned preseason recognition from the Big Ten Conference on Monday, with the pair selected to the Players to Watch list for the league's West Division.

The Badgers are among 10 tabbed to the Players to Watch list, which includes five honorees each from the East and West divisions.

Gordon enters the season as the nation's second-leading returning rusher behind fellow West Division Player to Watch Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska. Abdullah rushed for 1,690 yards last season, while Gordon piled up 1,609.

Gordon is also the nation's active career leader in rushing average at an explosive 8.1 yards per carry. He led the nation in runs of 60-plus (4) and 70-plus (3) yards last season.

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, native will be the Badgers' starter in the backfield after sharing carries last season with then-senior RB James White. Led by Gordon's 1,609, the duo piled up 3,053 yards to set the FBS single-season record for rushing yards by teammates. Gordon finished the season ranked No. 11 nationally in yards per game at 123.8 and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.

A preseason first-team All-American, Gordon is on watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Doak Walker Award.

Havenstein heads into his senior season as the Badgers' most experienced player with 40 career games to his credit and has made 27 consecutive starts at right tackle.

Last year, he anchored an offensive line that paved the way for UW's offense to set school records for total offense (480.8 yards per game), rushing yards (3,689) and rushing average (6.62 yards per carry). The Badgers also posted the third-best scoring mark in school history by averaging 34.8 points per game behind the blocking of Havenstein and Co.

Havenstein, a native of Mount Airy, Maryland, is on the preseason watch list for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.

The Big Ten's preseason Players to Watch list is selected by a media panel and consists of five student-athletes each from the East Division and West Division.

EAST DIVISION
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

WEST DIVISION
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Rob Havenstein, RT, Wisconsin



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