Georgia Football: Todd Gurley Has No Shot at the Heisman or Herschel’s Record and Richt is to Blame
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Thirty-two. It’s been thirty-two years since UGA has had a Heisman winner, and that last one was arguably the greatest college football player of all time. Herschel Walker DOMINATED opponents in his three years at Georgia, and how he was able to do it was quite remarkable. Everyone, from the ball boy to the hot dog vender, from the opposing linebacker to the family at home tuning in, knew that #34 was getting the ball almost every play, and still, no one could stop him… In just 3 seasons, Walker rushed for 5,259 yards on 994 attempts (5.3 yd avg/carry and 1,753 yd avg/year) and scored 52 total touchdowns. Oh yeah, statistics back then were only counted for 11 games, whereas now they count for at least 12, but usually 13 or 14. In case you’ve never seen Herschel’s highlights, or if you’ve just forgotten how dang impressive the man was, watch the video below.
Herschel’s Walker was absolutely unreal, and no Georgia running back has been worthy of carrying #34’s jockstrap, let alone mentioned in the same sentence as him since the guy turned pro in 1982. Well, almost no one… Now I am certainly NOT saying Todd Gurley is better than Herschel Walker, but I am saying that he is the first Georgia running back that you could even make a case for without committing Bulldog blasphemy. Before you start jumping all over me, just take a minute, watch these, and compare to the previous video.
Freshman and Sophomore Highlights
Clemson Highlights (Gurley’s last until 4:00)
Still think Walker’s highlights are more impressive? Well, you might be right, but you have to admit that Gurley’s are at least somewhat (even if just slightly) comparable. Now, this argument can be made both ways, but I think what Gurley is doing now might be more impressive, just hear me out. Yes, everyone knew Herschel was running the ball, but he also got 30 carries a game on average! Gurley, on the other hand, gets the ball 15.9 times on average and is still putting up comparable numbers (he averages more yards per carry than Herschel did). Also, I will argue (and many of you older folks will disagree) that players are more athletic now than they used to be. Players are way bigger and stronger than they used to be coming out of high school, and so the playing field is much more level. Now I know Walker was built like Hercules, but still, if he played today (not saying he wouldn’t still dominate) there would be many more players close to his size.
So why doesn’t Gurley have a shot at the Heisman or breaking Herschel’s touchdown record??
Simple, Mark Richt. Mark Richt absolutely refuses to create or get behind a Heisman campaign for Todd Gurley, which in today’s day in age, you need if you want to win it. Now I think Todd is very capable of winning the Heisman Trophy as I think he is without a doubt the best player in college football this year, but it just won’t happen. Richt does not care whatsoever about padding Gurley’s stats, as seen against Troy when he took Gurley out after only 6 carries and the score was 7-0 in the 1st quarter (I don’t necessarily disagree with Richt for doing that). Also, with the talented freshman that Georgia now has, the coaches will continue to cut Todd’s carries. I still think he’ll be in New York come December out of respect, but I just don’t think he’ll be returning with any hardware.
As for breaking Herschel’s touchdown record, I would’ve said that was possible two weeks ago. Had Gurley’s 54 yard touchdown not been called back against South Carolina, had Bobo let Gurley run it in from the four, and had Mark Richt let him play more than 2 series against Troy, I’d still think Todd would have a good chance. As it stands now, Gurley would needs 16 touchdowns in 10 (maybe 11,12, or 13) games to break Walker’s record. Again, I’m not saying he’s not capable of averaging more than a touchdown a game from here on out, I just don’t think Georgia will get him the ball enough. Or, they’ll do what they frequently do which is let Gurley drive it all the way down the field and let Mason sneak it in or pass it.
I will admit, though, that Herschel was a tad stronger than Gurley coming out of high school.
-Jonathan Follow @johnnysanders