ATHENS – Nobody is sure yet what Georgia has in tailback Todd Gurley. The freshman from Tarboro, N.C., has been the Bulldogs’ leading rusher in their first two scrimmages and has impressed coaches and teammates with his size and speed during preseason camp.
But if nothing else, it’s becoming clear that Gurley is well-grounded. He just laughed this week when he was informed that senior safety Shawn Williams compared him to Alabama’s Trent Richardson.
“I think he probably compared me to him because I wear No. 3 and I have dreads like Trent Richardson,” Gurley told reporters after practice Monday. “I have a long, long, long way to go to be like Trent Richardson. But, I mean , just for a starting senior here and one of the key leaders on the team to call me that, that’s big. I’ll just take that and keep working with it. That’s a nice compliment there.”
It certainly is. Richardson rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns at Alabama, including 1,679 this past season as he led the Crimson Tide to the national championship. Richardson was picked No. 3 in the 2012 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
The physical comparisons between Gurley and Richardson go beyond their hairstyles, however. Richardson is 5-foot-11, 220 pounds. Gurley is 6-1, 218. And both have exceptional speed for their size. Gurley ran track for Team USA in Europe in 2011 and advanced to the semifinals in the 110-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France.
Georgia coaches are saying they currently have four No. 1s at tailback heading into the Sept. 1 season opener against Buffalo. Gurley and fellow freshman Keith Marshall is in that group, so either become the first freshman to start an opener for the Bulldogs since Danny Ware in 2004.
“I haven’t really even thought of that,” Gurley said. “I really haven’t. Man, that would be great just to start in the SEC as a true freshman at any position. But I haven’t really thought about starting. I’m just trying to get everything down.”
Sophomore Ken Malcome gets the majority of snaps with the No. 1 unit and senior Richard Samuel reps with the ones as well.
SEPARATED AT BIRTH?