Coming into the University of Georgia as an ESPN four-star recruit, running back Todd Gurley quickly turned into a household name across the nation.
In his first season, Gurley racked up 1,385 rushing yards while averaging 6.2 yards per attempt, all while finding the end-zone 17 times on the ground, which is the third-highest amount of rushing touchdowns by a Georgia running back in a single season.
As a sophomore, Gurley appeared and started in 10 games while falling just short of the 1,000-yard threshold at 989. The three games Gurley missed were due to an ankle injury suffered in the fourth game of the season against LSU. Despite being banged up, Gurley went on to 10 rushing touchdowns while earning a spot on the SEC’s 2nd all-conference team.
Vitals & Build
- August 3, 1994 (would be 21 years old for first NFL snap if he enters after the 2014 season
- 6’1”, 226 pounds (listed)
Gurley is a tall, thickly built back that has the ideal build to play at the next level. He appears to have a long wingspan, which can be a plus in the passing game. He has a strong and thickly built lower body, which gives him the strength necessary to drive and derail oncoming defenders.
Gurley has started 23 of a possible 26 games during his time in Athens, missing three games as a sophomore because of a nagging ankle injury early in the year. Aside from the injury, Gurley doesn’t have any serious medical red flags, but he has already accumulated 387 carries during his college career and will likely add another 200 to that total by time bowl season comes around. Because of this, durability could be a bit of a concern.
Gurley is a running back that works best while running through the interior of the offensive line. He has a solid frame and strong lower body that allow him to burst quickly through openings and power through defenders at the next level. Gurley has good vision in the open field and is patient while waiting for his blocks to develop, even too patient at times. To maximize his talent, Gurley is at his best while running in power formations from under center, although he can still attack on the inside from the shotgun. He is a North-South runner with good lateral quickness.
For a player that is over six feet tall, Gurley maintains a relatively low pad level and can pack a powerful punch while taking on defenders head on.
- Here, against Auburn, Gurley lowers his pad while maintaining his speed, lowers his shoulder into an aspiring tackler and complete bulls him over before a Tiger defender is finally able to bring him down.
- Despite contact, Gurley is able to stay on his feet. Once he resets, he spots five Clemson defenders to his left. Using a quick change in direction, Gurley spots a hole and breaks two tackles on his way to the end zone.
- Here, Gurley lowers his pad level and bursts through the hole. He then runs over a defender on his way to a touchdown.
Despite his size, Gurley is extremely agile and has fantastic body control while making cuts and changing direction. Typically, he doesn’t dance around too much in the backfield and hits the hole as soon as one is formed.
- On this halfback toss, Gurley recognizes that the designed running lane isn’t there. He quickly changes direction, taking off into the open field while using his vision to maneuver at the next level.
- On this first down against Clemson, Gurley perfectly executes a jump cut, sliding through the hole and stiff arming a defender on his way to a big gain.
In the open field, Gurley has good vision and always seems to take perfect angles. He does a good job of identifying where the defender is, then he slightly, but quickly, changes his angle and breezes past defenders on his way to extra yardage.
- Gurley follows a pulling guard and bursts through a tight running lane between his guard and fullback. He sees a defender closing in from the right and cuts left, giving him the opportunity to make the big play.
Although he doesn’t run a large variation of routes, Gurley is a surprisingly smooth route runner. Georgia likes to utilize him in the passing game mainly out of the backfield in the shotgun. Gurley’s limited route tree consists mostly of screen passes, 5-10 yard crossing routes and swing routes. He has good awareness of when to make his cuts and when he does his routes are pretty smooth.
- Here, Gurley runs a short crossing route and makes the catch. After the catch, he turns the corner and goes out of bounds just short of the first down marker.
Gurley’s relies on his body to make catches at times, but that is an issue that can be fixed with coaching. He usually uses his body to haul in passes on balls delivered while he’s in stride, but he also has shown the ability to go up and get the ball at it’s highest point.
- On this play, Gurley comes out of the backfield and runs a smooth “out” route, making a nice catch with his hands and gaining a first down in the process.
His impact in the passing game was a bit limited as a freshman, reeling in just 16 receptions for 117 yards. As a sophomore, Gurley improved and hauled in 37 passes for 441 yards and six touchdowns. Even more impressively, Gurley essentially became a focal point in the final six games, putting up 399 of his yards in that final leg of the season. He put up a career-high 10 catches against Auburn and a career-high two receiving touchdowns against Kentucky
During his junior season, Gurley is going to need to improve his blocking technique. In pass protection, he makes a consistent effort, but his technique can be a bit flawed at times, especially against defensive linemen.
While run blocking, although he rarely is asked to run block, Gurley exhibits his solid understanding of angles to cut off defenders, creating just enough space for the runner (quarterback in the following situation) to break off a solid run.
- On this play, quarterback Aaron Murray is running a draw with Gurley set to throw him a lead block. Gurley lunges towards the defender, getting in the way enough to throw his man off and take a bad angle in the tackle attempt.
The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com