Published February 3, 2013 - 12:00pm
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SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to that sexy No. 1. We don’t just rank stats or project players at the next level based on athletic superiority, but we rank players based on the season they had in 2012. I know you’ll agree with every single one…
No. 7 – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
2012 stats: 222 carries for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns
Why he’s worthy: Georgia’s electrifying freshman running back wasn’t even the highest-rated recruit in last year’s class at his own position. All the five-star hype surrounded fellow running back Keith Marshall and his thrilling high school film. And when Todd Gurley signed, many speculated he would be a strong candidate to redshirt. But Gurley came out of nowhere and made the biggest freshman splash unlike any other back in the country. Yes, bigger than Bama’s TJ Yeldon.
After Isaiah Crowell’s dismissal, the depth chart looked more favorable for the freshmen tandem to get all the carries. And all throughout fall camp, we heard Gurley comparisons to Trent Richardson. Everyone thought it was blasphemous because of how dominant Richardson was even as a freshman and dismissed the silly notion.
But Gurley lived up to the preseason hype and all the comparisons…and more. He made everyone forget about Crowell’s absence and how soft he really was in 2011, and made the same people watch Herschel Walker’s highlight film over and over, because he looks like the best back since Walker.
Gurley finished his freshman season with 222 carries, just 22 carries less than the SEC leader in senior Mike Gillislee. He finished tied with Eddie Lacy for the most rushing touchdowns by any running back in the league.
We talk about how explosive and balanced Georgia’s offense was in 2012, and only a handful of others were as electrifying as Georgia’s. And Gurley’s arrival and SEC-readiness helped take Aaron Murray’s game to the next level, too. In fact, Murray had his best year as a Bulldog. Coincidence? Georgia has recently lacked that one back who can make the offense extremely balanced, and Gurley is the one Mark Richt has been missing for a few years now.
Gurley’s not overly fast, and he may not even pass the eye test as well as even Marshall. But his physicality between the tackles and yards after contact were truly amazing. We’re talking about an 18-year-old breaking multiple tackles on every single play against junior and senior linebackers who will be playing in the NFL in ’13.
There was not another true freshman who made a bigger impact on his team in ’12 than Gurley. That’s including TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper. Gurley has everything it takes to be a first-round pick and a perennial All-American – size, speed, physicality, vision and desire.
Let’s see what he does for his sophomore encore in 2013.
- No. 8 Dee Milliner
- No. 9 Luke Joeckel
- No. 10 Kevin Minter
- No. 11 AJ McCarron
- No. 12 Barrett Jones
- No. 13 Matt Elam
- No. 14 Cobi Hamilton
- No. 15 Chance Warmack
- No. 16 Jake Matthews
- No. 17 Jordan Matthews
- No. 18 CJ Mosley
- No. 19 Mike Gillislee
- No. 20 Cordarrelle Patterson
- No. 21 Chris Smith
- No. 22 Tyler Bray
- No. 23 Tyler Wilson
- No. 24 Johnthan Banks
- No. 25 Sam Montgomery
Photo Credit: Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE