Todd Gurley did not have it as easy as Johnny Manziel. Gurley, the Georgia star running back, was forced by the NCAA to sit out for games for collecting $3,000 for memorabilia and other items he signed over two years.
Manziel sat out half a game for Texas A&M last year for signing memorabilia, but it was deemed “inadvertent” and supposedly he did not collect any money from the violation. At the least, the NCAA could not prove he accepted money.
In any case, Manziel is in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and does not have to concern himself with college football’s governing body any longer. Gurley is just glad to resume his career.
He was a leading Heisman Trophy candidate before the suspension, a back with speed and power who was dominant for the Bulldogs. Freshman Nick Chubb filled in admirably, rushing for 170 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 63-31 victory over Kentucky. He ran for at least 143 yards in each of the games during Gurley’s suspension.
But Gurley will resume his starting role in Saturday’s game against Auburn.
“I know I haven’t taken his spot,” Chubb said. “I am looking forward to Todd getting back on the field and playing with him. I miss him out there.”
Gurley was tremendous to start the season. He bolted to the SEC rushing lead before the NCAA sideline him. Against Clemson, he rang up 198 yards and three touchdowns. Then he ground up 131 yards and a TD against South Carolina, 73 yards on only six carries in a rout of Troy and 208 yards with two touchdowns against Tennessee.
Gurley hasn’t played since rushing for 163 yards with two touchdowns in a win over Vanderbilt on Oct. 4. Having him back for the home stretch will benefit the Dogs, whose hopes of making the college football playoffs were dashed with a blowout loss to Florida two weeks ago.