Georgia RB Todd Gurley, Man Among Boys, Plays Himself into Heisman Talk

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 7, 2013

A year-and-a-half ago, Georgia running back Todd Gurley was in high school.

On Saturday between the hedges, he further proved that he is a grown man.

Gurley rushed for 134 yards and one touchdown, and also had an eight yard touchdown reception in Georgia's 41-30 win over South Carolina. In a day in which his quarterback Aaron Murray also lit up the stat sheet, it's Gurley who should not only be mentioned prominently in the Heisman Trophy debate, but be considered a front-runner.

The 6'1", 232-pounder from Tarboro, N.C. ran over, around and through the vaunted Gamecock defense on Saturday, showing off his power, quickness and breakaway speed.

With apologies to fellow Heisman contenders Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, De'Anthony Thomas and the rest of the players in the discussion for college football's most prestigious award, there's not a more complete player at his position than Gurley.

Georgia asked him early on to be the workhorse and control the tempo, and he obliged. When it needed a battering ram to go to work on a tired South Carolina defense, he took the ball. When Murray rolled out of the pocket near the end zone late in the third quarter, he found Gurley to cap off a 13-play drive and put the Bulldogs up 10. When Georgia needed to convert a 4th and two to ice the game away, No. 3's number was called.

He responded as expected—with a five-yard gain.

"He's a big, physical man," head coach Mark Richt said in postgame quotes released by the university. "He is a special player. There are not many things he can't do."

He looks like former Alabama running back Trent Richardson out there. But more importantly, he plays like him. His versatility is mind-blowing, especially for a player who's built to be a bruiser. 

With a 100-yard game this week versus a very tough South Carolina defense and last week's 154-yard, two-touchdown performance against Clemson under his belt, there hasn't been a more outstanding player in college football so far this season.

He's the focal point of the Bulldog offense, and it doesn't matter all that much. He gets his yards no matter who's standing in the way.

So what are the chances that Gurley actually wins it?

It helps if Georgia claws its way back into the BCS National Championship hunt. But even if last week's loss to the Tigers prevents that, the win over South Carolina puts Georgia in the driver's seat in the SEC East. 

More performances like the one he had between the hedges on Saturday afternoon, and he'll be a lock for New York City and the ceremony. 

At least, he should be.