Georgia'sTodd Gurley, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon To Engage In Epic Battle For Doak Walker Award

By Patrick Schmidt
Todd Gurley-Georgia Bulldogs
John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports

The two-headed running back monster from Georgia featuring Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are among the 11 players from the SEC to be named to the Doak Walker Award watch list given annually to the top running back in the nation.

Here are the other remaining SEC running backs to make the list in alphabetical order:

Alfred Blue, LSU

Matt Jones, Florida

Henry Josey, Missouri

Ben Malena, Texas A&M

Tre Mason, Auburn

LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

Kiero Small and Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

The award, named after the former SMU College and Pro Football Hall-of-Fame quarterback, has been won by SEC running backs three times, with former Arkansas back Darren McFadden joining Ricky Williams as the only two-time winners. Garrison Hearst from Georgia was the first SEC winner in 1992 and Alabama’s Trent Richardson the most recent winner in 2011.

My pick to win the award is the 6-foot-1, 232-pound Gurley, who ran for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman last season. He eclipsed the century mark nine times in 2012 and averaged 6.2 yards per carry and if not for Johnny Manziel’s historic season, would have led the conference in rushing.

If Gurley does not win the award, my next pick would be Yeldon, who ran for 1,108 yards a season ago, scoring 12 touchdowns in a supporting role to Eddie Lacy. With Lacy in the NFL, he ascends to the starting role in a Crimson Tide backfield that frequently churns out NFL draft picks under Nick Saban. Yeldon averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season and at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, is a similar runner to Gurley. Both will be first-round picks in the NFL draft when they leave college — likely after the 2014 season.

Provided each stays healthy I would not be surprised to see each back eclipse the 1,500 yard mark with 20 touchdowns, and that’s with each back having a backup — Marshall and Alabama’s Derrick Henry — fully capable of winning this award if they were the starters.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your Google network.

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