Tarboro – Tarboro, NC
It wasn’t surprising that Todd Gurley picked Georgia. But when asked why he chose the Bulldogs, Gurley said, "I love that food there.”
Apparently Gurley fell in love with the Georgia dining halls while on his official visit to the campus.
Other variables that probably carried more weight in the decision: Gurley and Keith Marshall are close friends, and the chance to play in the SEC as a tough, physical runner.
But those weren’t the first things mentioned by Gurley. Like the Georgia food services motto states – Let the Big Dawg eat.
HONORS: North Carolina Associated Press Player of the Year for 2011… NCPreps.com 2A Player of the Year for 2011… SuperPrep All-Mid-Atlantic Team… Scout.com four-star prospect, #107 overall player, #13 ranked RB nationally and #5 player in North Carolina… Named Rocky Mount Telegram All-Area Offensive Player of the Year for the 2010 season… Ran track for Team USA in Europe during the spring and summer of 2011
STATS: Gurley ran for more than 2,500 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. He was the pivotal player in Tarboro's 39-36 win over Lincolnton in the state championship game as he accounted for four touchdowns and 242 yards. Gurley played running back and safety during his junior season, totaling 1,472 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, as well as 79 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
CHAD SIMMONS ON GURLEY: “Gurley is a running back with good combination of size, power, hands, and speed. He is not a burner or a back that punishes defenders each run, but he can run inside or get to the edge. He does a good job of running with patience, seeing the holes before they open up, and just letting things develop before he moves forward. He is an athletic kid that will get bigger and become that big back with good speed out of the backfield.”
Mark Richt ON GURLEY: “Todd is a bigger back. He's a physical runner, but he has the ability to make people miss. To think that you could get the top running back from someone else's state - that's very difficult to do. The thing I like about them both is that they are both high-character young men. They are both extremely talented and physical enough to play this game.”
LEGGE’S FINAL WORD: Keith Marshall will get the headlines, but Gurley is the running back people should keep an eye on for the future. He’s built to take the pounding that is a running back’s life in the SEC. He has tremendous special teams skills, and therefore it seems unlikely he will redshirt in 2012. Gurley is a tremendous hedge against any off-the-field mistakes or injury concerns Isaiah Crowell may be affected by in the future. Gurley is in a heated competition with Josh Harvey-Clemons for the best overall football player in this class, and Georgia could use more football players (not necessarily athletes) on their team.