Georgia Football: Why Todd Gurley Is Already the Best Running Back in the SEC

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor INovember 15, 2012

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 3: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball against the Ole Miss Rebels at Sanford Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

When Todd Gurley hits the field on Saturday to take on Georgia Southern, he will be able to do something that only one other true freshman in Georgia history (Herschel Walker) has been able to do—rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

As it stands, Gurley needs only 27 yards to eclipse 1,000 yards, which is something he should be able to do against an FCS team.

It’s clear that Gurley is one of the best freshman running backs in the conference, but it’s also safe to say that he is the best running in the SEC. Period.

Gurley is currently second in the conference in rushing yards, rushing yards per game and touchdowns. The only player with better numbers than him is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, so depending on how one looks at it, Gurley is the SEC’s leading rusher.

This season, Gurley has been able to blow past and run over defenders, and it’s an element of the offense that has been missing for the Bulldogs the last few years. This is not taking anything away from fellow teammate and another true freshman Keith Marshall because he has made some big plays on his own at running back. But Gurley has done a lot more at the spot and shows no signs of slowing down.

Hailing from North Carolina, Gurley has made an impression on the coaches at the start of summer practices and has never looked back, rushing for more than 100 yards in five of his first eight games. One of those 100-yard games came against the Florida Gators, who had not allowed a 100-yard rusher all year long.

Standing at 6’1’’, 218 pounds, Gurley has the speed to break away from defenders, but he has the strength to drag defenders and break tackles. That balance is the reason he is going to rush for 1,000 yards, and that’s also the reason Georgia has won the SEC East for the second consecutive year.

With South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore out with an injury, the only other running back that could be better than Gurley is Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon. Like Gurley, Yeldon is a true freshman and also has the speed and power to take on the defenders in the SEC.

Through 10 games, Yeldon has754 yards on 114 carries and eight touchdowns. The only problem is Alabama has another running back by the name of Eddie Lacy who is having a better year than Yeldon, rushing for 771 yards on 136 carries and nine touchdowns this season.

There are a number of other good running backs in the SEC, like Missouri’s Kendial Lawerence, Florida’s Mike Gillislee and Tennessee’s Rajion Neal. But none of them have made an impact like Gurley. With the combination of speed, power and intelligence, Gurley should and will have a successful career in Athens and will join a very long list of great running backs in Georgia history.