The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 10, 2012

Gurley named to AP All-SEC 1st team, freshman team

Van Holland

TARBORO — Tarboro native and Georgia Bulldogs freshman tailback Todd Gurley has turned a lot of heads this season with his ability to move on the offensive side of the ball. He has great ability with his speed and strength to go along with his mentality as one of the best backs in the nation.

With his performances during his true freshman campaign at Georgia, the 6-foot-1, 218 pound tailback has garnered some outstanding accomplishments in just one season. He was named to the Associated Press All-SEC First Team and was also voted to the SEC All-Freshman Team by the coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

" I think awards are mainly for when you get older and you can look back on that stuff," Gurley said. "It don't mean nothing if you look at it now and not do the same thing next year."

Gurley has been the go to guy in the backfield for the Bulldogs this season. He has rushed for 1,260 yards on just 199 carries and has scored 17 touchdowns. He is second in rushing in the conference and is tied for second in scoring with 102 points and is third in the conference with all purpose yards per game with over 124 a game. Gurley also has a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown this season.

The attitude Gurley has is refreshing for the Bulldogs coaching staff, because he would have been named the SEC Freshman of the Year if it wasn't for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Gurley has put up some of the best numbers as a tailback this season. It is better than what most freshman in the SEC ever think about putting up.

Gurley was doubtful about winning the freshman of the year award because of Manziel but was hoping to catch him in yards but it didn't happen.

"That guy he is a good one man," Gurley speaking on Manziel. "He is just a baller. He is out there balling every week and he controls his own. He can pass the ball and if no one is there he can pull it down and run."

When Gurley went over the 1,000 yard mark, he was only the second true freshman to accomplish the feat as a Georgia true freshman back. The other was Hershel Walker, who did it in 1980 when he finished the season with 1,616 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.

Gurley is averaging 96.9 yards per game and has had limited carries, because the other true Bulldogs freshman tailback Keith Marshall has seen quality playing time as well.

Gurley has impressed the Georgia coaching staff since he arrived on campus in the summer. His work ethic on the practice field and in games has showed why he is such a highly regarded player in the conference.

"He's definitely had a big impact on our offense because of the yards that he's getting and his physicality in the offense," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "I think he brings a physical toughness to our offense and those offensive linemen like to see when a player breaks to the second level and gets a big run or runs over somebody."

Going into the beginning of the season, Gurley was going to be looking at limited playing time, but after Ken Malcolm was injured in the first game of the season, head coach Mark Richt had to find that special player to step in and make things happen for the Bulldogs out of the backfield. That person was Gurley. During the week of preparation for the second game of the season, Gurley was taking most of the reps with the first team and when he got his chance to start the second week of the season he proved that he could play on that big stage and at the level that the SEC plays on. From that point on he has been one of the top backs in the conference.

Gurley begin turning heads when conference play began and coaches from around the conference began talking about his ability to run over players and talked about how he got to the edge and was able to make things happen outside.

Gurley really wasn't highly recruited during his senior season for the Tarboro Vikings. The Bulldogs were interested and had seen him play one game in person when assistant coach Brian McClendon came and watched Gurley play against SouthWest. McClendon was impressed with his ability to run the ball and how he was able to gain extra yards by himself with his strengths and abilities.

After Gurley's state championship game performance in 2011 where he gained 242 yards and scored four touchdowns and his impressive MVP performance in the Shrine Bowl is really when coaches woke up and began to realize his talent.

 and how special he was.

Now at Georgia, Gurley's career has taken off like a rocket and he has shined the entire season and has played like a seasoned veteran.

Gurley and the Bulldogs will play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 1.