Georgia's Mark Richt Doesn't Believe Todd Gurley Needs a Heisman Campaign

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 02:  Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs for yardage during the game against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

According to Georgia head coach Mark Richt, there will be no official "Heisman campaign" for star junior running back Todd Gurley—or at least none beyond the work he does on the field.

Invoking the two Heisman winners he coached as an assistant at Florida State—Chris Weinke and Charlie Ward—Richt said the following in response to a fan question earlier this week, according to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph:

I don't think you have to have a campaign for the Heisman. I think the numbers will speak for themselves. I think his highlights will speak for themselves. The Heisman usually goes to a team that's winning and somebody that's just doing superb work, and has a little bit of a flare about him.

I really believe preseason most people would put him top five in the Heisman race. I don't think we have to do anything to help that. I'd be shocked if he wasn't first- or second-team All-American in just about every single poll. I think he's that good. If he's healthy, if he's in shape, and if he's really playing as well as he can.

Richt is not wrong about the expectations for Gurley next season. Despite missing extended time with a leg injury in 2013, he is widely considered the most talented runner in college football and a leading candidate for the All-America First Team.

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder ranked Gurley the No. 17 overall player in the game during his CFB 250 series, trailing only Leonard Williams (USC), Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon) among players returning to school next season.

But in the shrunken world of social media, "Heisman Campaigns" have become a bit of an anachronism. It's a topic Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer and The Wall Street Journal's Ben Cohen both covered in-depth last summer, and not much has changed in the interim.

For smaller schools—schools that do not otherwise demand the spotlight—there is still some meaning to be found.

The "Persastrong" campaign Northwestern put on for quarterback Dan Persa in 2011 sticks out as an example; no one was really paying attention to the Wildcats that season, so he needed the publicity.

Same goes for Jordan Lynch's Heisman campaign last season.

But for Todd Gurley at Georgia?


He's already considered the nation's best running back, and he's playing for a team most expect will contend for an SEC East title. Eyes will be fixed on Athens from the outset of next season.

Why waste any time on the campaign trail?