Hill vs. Gurley: Who is the SEC’s best back?

Jeremy Hill is a hoss, a 235-pound wrecking ball of a running back who pummels defenses.

Don’t believe me?

Just ask a bunch of Auburn players. Hill repeatedly bludgeoned them in LSU’s win on Saturday.

He was the best player on the field that day, but is he the best back in the SEC?

Is he better than Georgia’s Todd Gurley?

Or Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon?

Some folks – including Chuck Oliver of 680 The Fan’s popular “Chuck & Chernoff” show – think Hill, character issues aside – is at the top of the heap.

Oliver caused a stir when he tweeted this during the game on Saturday.

He defended his position in an email to me yesterday.

“Georgia fans lost their minds when I said that. Suggesting that a guy averaging 8.5 yards per carry with six TDs in his first three games is the best back in the league — that’s outrageous and shocking and over-the-top? And look at Hill last season. He didn’t puff up his stats against the worst defenses on LSU’s schedule. Against North Texas, Washington, Auburn and Idaho, he combined for 1 carry for 2 yards. It was against South Carolina and Alabama and Texas A&M that he exploded. Those are the teams you break out against? Guy’s a stud.

Jeremy Hill is the best back in the conference. Plenty of speed, good hands, and more power than any other SEC guy I’ve watched. He’s just the toughest runner in the league, and can pound on defenses to the point where guys don’t want to tackle him as the game goes on.”

Hill is outstanding, and I was impressed with him against Auburn, but I’ll take Gurley over him and Yeldon.

Gurley is about the same size as Hill. He runs with passion, hammers defenses and has proven to be a reliable blocker and receiver. Gurley’s presence — along with fellow RB Keith Marshall — is the key to Georgia’s offense.

Going into the season, I thought Gurley and Yeldon were the SEC’s best backs, but now it’s Gurley and Hill.

Or Hill and Gurley, as Oliver said.

No matter what, Gurley, Hill and Yeldon are the best RBs in a conference loaded with excellent backs, including Ben Malena (Texas A&M), Jeff Scott (Ole Miss), Alex Collins (Arkansas), Mike Davis (South Carolina), Tre Mason (Auburn) and Marshall.

“There’s a list of really good (backs) in the conference, … but ‘great” is only Hill, Yeldon and Gurley, and Hill is at the top,” Oliver wrote. “It might be by 1 percent, it might be by the slightest of margins, but three guys can’t be EXACTLY the same talent-wise. If I’m picking one, it’s Hill.”

Hill and Gurley will be on the same field Saturday. Perhaps you can decide for yourself.

You can follow me on Twitter here: @AJ_Writes

66 comments Add your comment

kevin

September 24th, 2013
10:57 am

I’m not a scout, but I do have eyes and about 35 years worth of watching college football. So I trust my eyes. I’ve never seen many RB’s like Todd Gurley. He’s different. I told a friend this after the Buffalo game last year and the friend said, “Really? Really? You’re saying that because he ran well vs BUFFALO?” I replied that it’s not the stats or the team he’s playing, but WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE AND ACCOMPLISHES when he runs. Stats don’t tell the story b/c one guy can go for 150 yards on 3 carries. But Gurley consistently turns no gains into 10 yards and can go for 75 yards at any time, whether he’s in open space or CREATING SPACE. He’s the best back since Herschel Walker. And I’ve said it before, but we Georgia fans can stop waiting for the next Herschel: he finally showed up.

Rick James

September 24th, 2013
10:50 am

@Smitty

“Gurley wasn’t even the best back in the SC game. Mike Davis had more yards in just over half the carries.

Could that have been because Gurley was running against a better defense?

Rick James

September 24th, 2013
10:45 am

And then there are those like Mark May who says Gurley is the best back in nation..Me? I’d rather just beat LSU..

JB

September 24th, 2013
10:07 am

Reminder that Gurley splits a lot of carries. The LSU back gets ” spelled”, but Gurley splits his. Give Gurley 35 carries a game a you have a Heisman winner.

Smitty

September 24th, 2013
10:02 am

Gurley wasn’t even the best back in the SC game. Mike Davis had more yards in just over half the carries.

B

September 24th, 2013
9:58 am

Hill has played against three horrible teams so far this year. Gurley will be playing against his third top ten team this year. Gurley is the better back and person.

Heavy D

September 24th, 2013
9:57 am

ps….wetwillie? really?

Heavy D

September 24th, 2013
9:53 am

Just watch the Bearcats’ RB Calloway against Thomas County Central next week and you will see who the best really is

WetWillie

September 24th, 2013
9:40 am

Hill
Gurley
Yeldon (maybe)

as long as character is no issue it’s Hill.

Gene

September 24th, 2013
9:37 am

Auburn contained Hill in the second half. I don’t know if Hill got tired or Auburn got better. The article stated, “character issues aside.” You can’t discount character. Hill is a train wreck waiting to happen, and even Miles will have to deal with it. Gurley is a better player and a better person.