Todd Gurley's roller-coaster story: A timeline of critical events
Todd Gurley’s career at Georgia always will be framed by the “what if” questions brought about by injuries, early NFL draft entry and a four-game suspension.
Gurley has endured quite the journey since winning three high school football state championships in four years in North Carolina. Here’s a timeline of some of the key dates between the moment he chose to attend the University of Georgia and the minute he became a Top 10 NFL draft pick on Thursday.
Jan. 13, 2012: Four-star running back Todd Gurley (Tarboro, N.C.) commits to Georgia ahead of Clemson, citing his friendship with fellow UGA commit and running back Keith Marshall and his relationship with running backs coach Bryan McClendon.
Sept. 1, 2012: Wearing No. 3, Gurley makes his debut as a true freshman by carrying eight times against Buffalo in a 45-23 victory. With those eight carries, he scores two touchdowns and runs for 100 yards.
Sept. 8, 2012: Starter Ken Malcome injured his hand in the season opener. Coach Mark Richt expressed concern before the game with the ability of Gurley and Marshall in pass protection, but UGA downed Missouri in the Tigers’ first SEC game, 41-20, as Gurley led the team in rushing in his first college start.
Jan. 1, 2013: Gurley records his ninth 100-yard game of his true freshman season, finishing with 125 yards in the Capital One Bowl win against Nebraska. He’s rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year, inspiring all sorts of predictions from Bulldogs fans including a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and the best career for a UGA running back not named Herschel Walker.
Sept. 28, 2013: Gurley suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain during the second quarter of a 44-41 victory over LSU. He missed Georgia’s next three games and finished the season with just 165 carries. At 989 rushing yards, a good sophomore season, but still below expectations. Later, when he tore his ACL, the ankle injury exacerbated his “injury-prone” label entering the NFL draft.
Aug. 30, 2014: Gurley begins his junior season by running for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 win against Clemson as preseason Heisman Trophy talk grows louder.
Oct. 9, 2014: Georgia announces an indefinite suspension for Gurley, who accepted impermissible benefits in the form of money from an autographed memorabilia dealer.
Oct. 29, 2014: The NCAA levies its punishment on Gurley: a four-game suspension, 40 hours of community service and a mandatory donation to charity.
Nov. 15, 2014: Gurley returns to the field after serving a four-game suspension, but tears his ACL during a fourth-quarter handoff, ending his junior season.
Nov. 25, 2014: Dr. James Andrews repairs what he’ll later describe as a “clean” ACL tear, launching Gurley’s subsequent recovery and rehab.
Dec. 1, 2014: Georgia head coach Mark Richt announces that Gurley will not return for his senior season in Athens and instead will enter the NFL draft, which everyone expected.
Feb. 21, 2015: Gurley declines to allow NFL teams to examine his recently-repaired knee in an often-exhausting medical check at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, leading to some negative headlines, unanswered questions and an impassioned media defense from the aforementioned Dr. Andrews.
April 18, 2015: Gurley returns to Indianapolis, this time to allow NFL doctors to examine his knee. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport says Gurley’s knee “checked out fine,” and mock drafts started shuffling the UGA standout into the first round, sometimes as high as No. 6.
April 30, 2015: The St. Louis Rams select Gurley with the 10th overall pick, making him the only first-round running back since Trent Richardson in 2012. Tweets former Vanderbilt running back and current Rams player Zac Stacy: “Yikes.”