Why Todd Gurley was one of Georgia football’s best RB since Herschel

Todd Gurley runs away from a Florida player in the 2013 game. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Todd Gurley runs away from a Florida player in the 2013 game. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Georgia football is known for its running backs, and one that resonates with everybody is Todd Gurley.

During his time in Athens, he was consistently one of the most electric players in the country. Fans held their breath in anticipation any time No. 3 touched the ball.

Gurley burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2012, rushing for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games. A high ankle sprain caused him to miss multiple games during the 2013 season, limiting his numbers to 989 yards and 10 touchdowns.

His junior season will forever be one of the most infamous of any player to don the red and black. With Heisman hype swirling, 2014 was supposed to be a massive year for Gurley. After punishing Clemson’s defense for 198 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, as well as a 100-yard kick return touchdown, Gurley’s hype was at a fever pitch.

Georgia football knows Todd Gurley is one of its best running backs since the 1980s.

A four-game suspension for violating NCAA rules ended all that, and a torn ACL in his first game back from the suspension ended his final season in Athens. Gurley ran wild that season, racking up 911 yards and nine touchdowns in just six games. With the pace he was on, 2014 could have been one for the history books.

Gurley chose to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft, which ultimately paid off as he had one of the most productive primes in recent history.

His talent at the running back position is unmatched, but his numbers don’t quite stack up with another guy who has a good argument for the best Georgia running back since Herschel Walker. Nick Chubb choosing to return for his senior year bolsters his case against Gurley, and his injury as a sophomore also kept him off the field for a large portion of a season.

The case for Gurley doesn’t come from pure numbers, though. His career yards per carry sit at 6.4 compared to Chubb’s 6.3, but his sheer talent and athleticism are unmatched at the position.

Gurley was a big, physical back with the ability to bounce off tackles easily. Along with this, he possessed the agility and speed to be dynamic in the open field as well, allowing him to excel as a kick returner. He also proved to be a reliable receiver out of the backfield, a trait that translated extremely well to his time in the NFL.

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While Chubb was great in his own right, Gurley was simply a different breed. The hype surrounding him and the dynamic rushing ability he possessed consistently made him one of the most electrifying players in the country.