I’ve made it perfectly clear during my time at CFT that Herschel Walker was the greatest college football player I’ve seen in my lifetime, so the former Georgia running back’s words carry a little more weight in my mind. And Walker’s words on a current UGA running back? Positively glowing.
Walker attended practice at his old stomping grounds Thursday, and spoke with the media about very Bulldog talking points. Well, really, one talking point: Nick Chubb.
And when it comes to Walker on Chubb, well, insert an erection euphemism here.
“One thing I like about him, the game is over, practice is over, and the kid is still out there working out,” the College Football Hall of Famer said. “That’s just the sign of a good athlete. That’s a sign that he’s doing things he needs to get done. …
“This kid came on as a freshman and just think if he had started the whole season, what he would have done. That’s what’s so amazing.”
Walker has a very valid point when it comes to Chubb.
Backing up a healthy Todd Gurley, the true freshman Chubb rushed for a modest 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the first five games of the 2014 season. Gurley’s season was over after that fifth game thanks to a combination of a four-game suspension for NCAA violations and a torn ACL in his first game back, which allowed Chubb to absolutely go off: in the last eight games of the year, Chubb ripped off 1,323 yards and 12 touchdowns. Included in that total was a school-record 266 yards in the Belk Bowl win over Louisville.
Extrapolate that production out over an entire regular season plus a bowl game, and Chubb’s statline would’ve read 2,150 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. The former total would’ve been good enough for second nationally this past season, behind only the 2,587 yards from Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.
As it was, his 1,547 yards rushing were the second-most ever for an UGA freshman, behind only the 1,616 yards put up by, you guessed it, Walker back in 1980.
As impressive as those numbers are, it’s the workload Chubb shouldered that really stands out to Walker, especially in this day and age of passing offenses. In his eight games post-Gurley, Chubb had 25 or more carries four times, with three games topping the 30-carry mark.
“When you see football today, you see a choir playing at running back,” Walker said. “You see about 10 guys running in and out of the game. This guy (Chubb) carried the ball 30 some times. That is absolutely amazing. That shows you the worth that he is. I’m amazed.”
Given the shelf life of running backs these days, I’d be amazed if Chubb continued that workload throughout the entirety of the 2015 season.