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


September 24th, 2013
12:24 pm

Time will answer all questions. To date it is Gurley. Certainly that could change in the coming weeks/months. Gurley trampled one of the SEC’s previously best defenses in SC. Hill hasn’t yet had that opportunity this year. Yeldon has not impressed with the stats yet but, I suspect that is coming. All three are studs and for Oliver to claim it is Hill is blantantly stating, he doesn’t know dic

Tide Roll is a Moron

September 24th, 2013
12:21 pm

Gurley is better than Yeldon

Hill is a beast but he should be in jail so he doesn’t count


September 24th, 2013
12:19 pm

Very few guys have the “it” factor and Gurley has it for sure. I only saw Hill against Auburn and based on that alone I can’t argue that he may have it also. Since I have seen more of Gurley I will comment more on him.

Gurley is a special athlete. Fast, powerful, and he has moves/cut back ability. He is a work-horse and can carry the load for 25-30 carries. And he seems to be a humble guy who is a leader and is not afraid to work hard in practice (based on some team reports and comments from others). He is quickly becoming one of my all-time UGA favorites. Too soon to say that for sure but he is on the radar to be one of the best all-time at UGA.


September 24th, 2013
12:05 pm

Gurley is pretty good, but can he carry 12 (or more) games all by himself?

Best RB Committee:

TJ Yeldon
Jalston Fowler
Kenyan Drake
Altee Tenpenny
Dee Hart
Derrick Henry
Tyren Jones
Alvin Kamara

TJ Yeldon hasn’t played much so far this season, because Bama has been trying out so many of his backups.

Cracker Jack

September 24th, 2013
11:53 am

Far too early in the season to speculate. Guess it’s a fun pastime while we wait for the weekend to get here.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

September 24th, 2013
11:20 am

Both defenses will have a game plan for Gurley & Hill. Give the nod to Gurley overall. Either way, we’ll see both in the NFL.


September 24th, 2013
11:18 am

I like Gurley but then again I’ve seen him play more. rarely does the first guy bring him down and he always finishes his runs. You would be hard pressed to match Gurley’s talents outside a couple of elite NFL backs as he really is the total package


September 24th, 2013
11:01 am

Mike Davis is good and I wish he’d picked Georgia over SC. But Mike Davis is no Todd Gurley.

Heavy D

September 24th, 2013
11:00 am

Calloway, Calloway, Calloway,… GO BEARCATS!


September 24th, 2013
10:58 am

I should’ve said, the best GEORGIA RB since Herschel. And I’ve seen them all.