Todd Gurley Leaves Legacy of ‘Could Have Beens’ at Georgia


Todd Gurley was an amazing talent and accomplished a lot during his time at Georgia, but what about the things that “could have been”?

Did you see him? Did you see Todd Gurley do that? There he goes!

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All commonly uttered phrases when the Georgia Bulldogs were on the field and number three was carrying the ball.

He pounded, he juked, he leapt, he scampered and he hurdled his way into the annals of Georgia football history, and took the Bulldog Nation on a wild ride every time he touched the ball.

From the moment he broke in as a freshman in 2012 (when everyone was talking about Keith Marshall), it was obvious that Todd Gurley was a special kind of athlete, and was going to show fans and opponents things they’d never seen before. Lauded as the greatest running back to dress out at Sanford Stadium since Herschel Walker, Gurley was going to amaze.

What he did was nothing short of miraculous in some ways. As a freshman he rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns, and helped lead Georgia to the SEC Championship game. As a sophomore — a very often injured sophomore — he only played in 10 games, and still managed 989 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

This season, marred by a four game suspension (yes, I hear you growling Dawg fans), he managed to post 911 yards in just six games…SIX…adding nine more touchdowns to his rushing total.


His 3,285 rushing yards are second only to Herschel in Georgia history, and that’s saying something considering he had to pass such names as Garrison Hearst, Lars Tate and Rodney Hampton. And that’s to say nothing of all the receiving and return yards he amassed during his Georgia career. He was the complete weapon.

But despite all the accolades, all the love from the Bulldog Nation, and all the accomplishments that can never be taken away, Gurley leaves another legacy….what could have been for him, and for the Bulldogs.

Anyone can speculate and take his career numbers and extrapolate where he may have landed, and records he may have been able to break, but I’m talking about more than just the numbers. I’m talking about the heart and soul of a team, the guy teammates looked to for that extra spark, the guy who was going to lead the Bulldogs to glory in 2014.

What could have been?

Everyone came into 2014 knowing this was likely Todd Gurley’s last season as Bulldog, and Mark Richt needed to extract every bit of college football greatness out of him that he could. But Richt as limited by Gurley’s mistakes.

A few hundred autographs, a few thousand dollars, and suddenly it all comes to a screeching halt.

Have a seat, Todd…the NCAA will not tolerate capitalism among its ranks. But a rule is a rule, and Gurley broke the rules, and had to pay the price, as did his teammates.

If Gurley isn’t suspended four games, and is part of the rotation, does Georgia beat Florida? Are the Bulldogs on the cusp of a top four ranking right now? And now Gurley is injured. Done for the season with a torn ACL suffered seemingly in a harmless manner as he carried the ball against Auburn.

Tweak…wince…thump…Gurley fell to the ground, and a deafening silence from what had been an rambunctious and rowdy crowd fell over Sanford Stadium.

Did the four game suspension play into this injury, or was this a snap of a ligament just waiting for the right time to spring on the kid? We’ll never really know for sure.

If Georgia manages to find themselves in the SEC Championship game, and has to face Alabama or Mississippi State, will not having Gurley available make a difference? If it comes down to a last second play, and Nick Chubb (who has been nothing short of incredible filling in for Gurley) can’t quite get that extra six inches for a touchdown, will we all be sitting and wondering, “Could Gurley have punched that in?”

Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) reacts to the fans after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Auburn 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia could have been undefeated this season, if not for a coach’s shortsightedness as to what Gurley could do, and for him finding himself sidelined during one of the biggest games of the year. Georgia could be sitting atop the standings knowing that even a loss in the SEC Championship game wouldn’t keep them out of the playoffs.

Georgia could be shedding decades of frustration and finger-pointing about not winning “the big game”. Georgia could be silencing all doubters right now. Todd Gurley could be looking at multiple trophies crowding his bookshelves, and several rings adorning his fingers.

Oh, what could have been…for Gurley, and for the Bulldogs.

Did you see him? Did you see Gurley leave so much unfulfilled as a Bulldog? There he goes…