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Georgia Football: Why Todd Gurley Will Be a Heisman Finalist in 2013

Brian JonesContributor IDecember 13, 2012

Georgia Football: Why Todd Gurley Will Be a Heisman Finalist in 2013

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    With Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman this year, he is the third SEC player in four years to win the coveted award.

    And if he has a similar performance next season, he will have a chance to make another trip to New York next December.

    But the competition will be more fierce next season because another SEC player could be an odds-on favorite to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy and he could be the first Georgia Bulldog to win it over 30 years.

    Todd Gurley had a tremendous freshman season and he can go nowhere but up. He may not win the Heisman next year, but he should be among the top three to five finalists for the trophy in 2013.

    Here's why.

Production

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    In 13 games this year, Gurley has rushed for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns, which led all SEC running backs.

    He was named to the AP All-SEC team which made him the first true freshman from Georgia to be named to the first team since 2008 when A.J. Green was named to the list.

    Gurley is also the first Bulldogs running back to rush for 1,000 yards as a true freshman since Herschel Walker did it in 1980.

    Those numbers right there will put him on the watch list for the 2013 Heisman before the season beings, and if he puts up near similar or better numbers, New York will be calling his name.

Performances in Big Games

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    With Gurley, it's not so much about what he's done this season, it's what he has done in the big games.

    In the game against Florida, Gurley rushed for 118 yards on 27 carries and had one score to get the Bulldogs rolling.

    In the game against Alabama, Gurley rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries and scored twice against an Alabama defense that only gave up nine points per game.

    Those two games showed that Gurley can perform in the big games, which is crucial to Heisman voters because they like to see big-time players play well in big-time games.

League of Running Backs

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    When looking at the best running backs in the country, how many will be better than Gurley in 2013?

    There are a handful of running backs from smaller school that had more rushing yards than Gurley, but when looking at the BCS schools, Gurley has chance to be the best running back in the country.

    Now there are the two running backs at Alabama (Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon) that will rival Gurley for the top spot. But because Lacy reportedly has announced he will enter the draft and the way Alabama runs their offense, both Yeldon and the likely No. 2 back will not have the same numbers as Gurley will have next season.

Maturity

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    One of the things that makes Gurley different from the other young players in college football is that he's wise beyond his years.

    Before the season, he was compared to former Alabama running back Trent Richardson who was a 2011 Heisman finalist.

    Gurley laughed at the comparisons and said that he has a long way to go before being compared to Richardson.

    Gurley knows how much work he has to put in to be one of the best in the game, and as he continues to grow physically and mentally, the game will come easier to him and will lead to better on-the-field numbers.

MVP

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    If the Bulldogs win the SEC next season, Gurley will be a big reason why and he will be looked at as the most valuable players on the team.

    It's clear the Jarvis Jones won't be back and Aaron Murray has not made his decision yet.

    So Gurley will be a go-to guy offense no matter what, and the Bulldogs will go as far as he will take them.

    And if he is anything like Walker in terms of production, he and the Bulldogs will have a lot of success moving forward.

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