It’s understood that Todd Gurley will come into the 2014 season as one of the best, if not the best running back in the country. He has proven the last two seasons that he can run off the edge, run between the tackles, block and catch the ball out of the backfield.
But how good will Gurley be in 2014? Will he have another monster season like he did in 2012, or will he take a minor step back and have only 1,000 yards rushing because of the players who are behind him?
The SEC's top running backs: 1 Todd Gurley, 2 T.J. Yeldon, 3 Mike Davis, 4. Derrick Henry. Full list: http://t.co/8WpaTywtMe— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) June 26, 2014
Based on what he has done the last two seasons and where he is right now with his health, the over/under for his stat projections has to be set high. For yards, the over/under line should be set at 1,350. For rushes, 210 is a fair mark and touchdowns should be set at 15.
Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards on 222 carries and 17 touchdowns his freshman year. He played in every game that season and rushed for 100 yards in eight of the 14 games. Gurley also scored in 11 of the 14 games he played in that season. And there was only one time he only had less than 10 carries, and that was against Buffalo in the home opener where he rushed for 100 yards on eight carries.
2013 was a different story for Gurley. He suffered an ankle injury in the LSU game and could never fully recover. In fact, he did not play in three of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, and two of those games resulted in a loss. Gurley still finished with modest numbers, rushing for 989 yards on 165 carries and 10 touchdowns.
But he really came into his own as a receiver. Last year, Gurley finished with 37 receptions for 441 yards and six touchdowns. The six touchdowns he scored through the air led the team, and his receptions and yards placed him third behind Chris Conley and Michael Bennett.
So what would be the over/under on Gurley’s receiving stats? Based on what he’s done the last two seasons, it would have to be set at 30 receptions, 400 yards and five touchdowns.
But will Gurley be able to go over or under his projected stats? If he’s able to stay healthy, there is no reason he can’t go over. Remember, Gurley was on pace to have another 1,300-yard season last year, but he did not play in nearly four games and still rushed for almost 1,000 yards.
That being said, players like Keith Marshall, A.J. Turman, Brendan Douglas and possibly Nick Chubb and Sony Michel could get in on the action. Marshall will see his share of carries as well as Turman and Chubb. But when push comes to shove, Gurley is the No. 1 guy, and the Bulldogs are a better team when he is at full strength. And if he is able to have a monster season stat-wise, then the Bulldogs will be back in the Georgia Dome in December.