During his two seasons as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs, running back Todd Gurley has made a significant impact. As he prepares for his junior season, Gurley should be considered as a contender for college football’s top individual award, the Heisman Trophy.
Gurley burst onto the scene in Athens as a freshman, starting 12 of 14 games and rushing for 1,385 yards, the sixth-highest single season total in school history. He also became only the second freshman to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards. The other player to accomplish that feat at Georgia, Herschel Walker, went on to win the Heisman later in his career.
Last season, as a sophomore, Gurley suffered through a couple of injuries, and only played in 10 games. However, he still led the Bulldogs in rushing, with 989 yards and averaged six yards per rush. He scored 10 touchdowns on the ground, and added six receiving touchdowns, both of which led the team.
Gurley has rushed for more than 100 yards on 12 occasions during his career, which is exactly half of the games he has played. He is reportedly healthy and ready for a big junior season.
The Bulldogs will need Gurley to carry the load this season. The graduation of four-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray means that a new signal caller, likely Hutson Mason, will be behind center. A strong running game can only help Mason as he takes over the offense.
Also, Gurley’s running mate in the backfield for the last two seasons, Keith Marshall, likely won’t play much, if at all, this season. Marshall suffered a significant knee injury last year and figures to redshirt in 2014. That means more carries for Gurley, which should boost his numbers.
Gurley is one of the most talented backs in the nation, and if he has the type of season that head coach Mark Richt thinks he will have, the Heisman is not out of the question.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.