Comparing Breakout RB Stars Todd Gurley of Georgia vs. Alabama's T.J. Yeldon

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 14, 2012

Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon
Alabama RB T.J. YeldonTim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Two weeks into the season, and we've already received a glimpse on which freshmen are ready to shine on college football's biggest stage.

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon was the talk of Week 1, following an 11-carry, 111-yard, one-touchdown performance vs. Michigan at the Cowboys Classic.

Not to be outdone, Todd Gurley broke the century mark on the ground in Week 1, returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and scored three total touchdowns.

Not bad debuts, to say the least.

But which running back is better?

Yeldon has grabbed most of the early headlines due to the fact that he plays for the defending national champions and became the first player in Alabama history to go north of 100 yards in his debut as a true freshman for the Crimson Tide.

The 6'2", 216-pounder has the perfect combination of size, speed, balance and field awareness to be an immediate star in the SEC. He has the speed and moves to be a home run hitter, along with the ability to take the pounding between the tackles in the SEC.

Talk about living up to the hype early.

Gurley's attributes are very similar to Yeldon's.

At 6'1" and 218 pounds, Gurley also can go between the tackles, but he has game-breaking speed in his back pocket if he needs it.

He proved that he has the breakaway speed when he returned a kick 100 yards in the season opener, and has impressed the coaching staff enough to be moved to the top of the Georgia depth chart after just two games.

Yeldon will probably get more and more carries as the season progresses, but he will still be fighting with Eddie Lacy and Dee Hart for touches in the crowded Crimson Tide backfield.

Gurley has company too, but he's already moved to the top of the pecking order, which suggests that he will have more immediate success than Yeldon.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo takes a lot of heat for his predictable play-calling, but his offense produced the Associated Press SEC Freshman of the Year last season in running back Isaiah Crowell.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Gurley repeats the feat this season between the hedges.

In the long term, however, Yeldon is set up for more sustained success.

It's only a matter of time before the Daphne, Ala., native ascends to the top of the Tide depth chart. When he does, his star power will go through the roof.

Alabama has talent all over the field, but head coach Nick Saban knows that the path of least resistance is to run the ball and play defense. That methodology won't change as long as Yeldon is back there.