In the history of college football there have been just 15 players to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. That number may begin to increase a little more frequently now as college football adds more games to the schedule. With the addition of the College Football Playoff, the top two teams in college football could be about to play a 15-game season (12 regular season games, conference championship game, two College Football Playoff games), and star running backs on those teams will have a chance to pad the rushing totals like never before. For Georgia running back Todd Gurley, that is an exciting thought.
“If I could get 2,000 yards, that would be awesome,” Gurley said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days (via The Telegraph). “If the Lord would bless me with that, oh my gosh. That’s going to be pretty hard to do in the SEC.”
Gurley is one of the nation’s top running backs, when healthy. Health was not so kind to him last season, but the expectations for the upcoming season are high. Despite missing three games in 2014, Gurley still led Georgia in rushing with 989 yards and 10 touchdowns. Getting to 2,000 rushing yards in a single season seems like a tall order, especially when you throw in the mix the likelihood Georgia mixes things up running the football with a talented Keith Marshall looking to get involved more in 2014. And that is just assuming Gurley stays healthy. Even if he does stay healthy, the odds Gurley puts up the kind of rushing numbers needed just to get to 2,000 yards may not be great. Gurley’s career high for rushing yards in a single game is 154 yards, which he did in last season’s season opener against Clemson.
Boston College running back Andre Williams is the newest member of the 2,000-yard club in college football. Since 2000, seven players have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season. The first to do so was Marcus Allen of USC in 1981. Barry Sanders holds the single-season rushing record with 2,628 rushing yards in 1988. Will a possible 15-game season by a star college running back of today’s era threaten the record held by Sanders? Perhaps at some point, but even a 15-game season would require quite a workload by even the best running backs in the country.
Just getting to 2,000 yards is an accomplishment in itself. It is not impossible for Gurley, or any running back in 2014, but the odds it happens are not good.