Who is next season's Nick Chubb in the SEC?
Helmet coming off during a first-down burst? Check.
Emerging as the lead back in wake of a Heisman candidate’s suspension? Check.
Generate All-American buzz heading into second SEC season? Check.
There wasn’t much Georgia’s Nick Chubb left on the table during his first season last fall, rushing for an Eastern Division-leading 1,547 yards, the third-highest true freshman total in the nation.
Chubb signed with the Bulldogs as a heralded five-star just two hours west of Athens and didn’t disappoint as the league’s top offensive rookie. Who will make the biggest splash in an SEC backfield this season? Let’s go over the specs:
Qualifications to be the next Nick Chubb
- Begin the season without lofty expectations
- Tally at least 10 total touchdowns
- Rush for 1,000 yards
- Play for a contender
One player comes to mind, a newcomer that hasn’t yet played a down of SEC football: Auburn’s Jovon Robinson, a highly-recruited JUCO transfer expected to compete for the bulk of the carries in Gus Malzahn’s run-geared offense forced to replace the league’s leading rusher, Cameron Artis-Payne.
Robinson has the total package and while he took the long route to Auburn after originally signing with the Tigers in 2012, he is poised to produce at a brawny 6-foot, 235 pounds. In two years at Georgia Military, Robinson scored 43 touchdowns and tallied just over 3,000 yards rushing, garnering interest from several of elite programs.
The Tigers have had a 1,000-yard rusher six straight seasons, the longest stretch in the SEC and JUCO transfers on offense are often immediate impact stars in Malzahn’s scheme. Artis-Payne followed Tre Mason with his own All-SEC campaign, wideout D’haquille Williams became an instant go-to target and two-year starting quarterback Nick Marshall blossomed into a reliable dual-threat facilitator.
If there’s a wild-card pick from the other side of the conference, it is South Carolina’s David Williams, a rising third-year sophomore with an expansive skill set. Brandon Wilds begins spring practice as the Gamecocks’ primary option but by mid-September, Williams will be the offense’s top player not named Pharoh Cooper.
Steve Spurrier wouldn’t want to admit it, but with questions at the quarterback spot, running the offense through Williams and Wilds is a good idea.