Apparently, the only person who can stop Georgia running back Todd Gurley is himself.
Gurley was sixth in the nation through five games with 773 rushing yards, and he was generally considered one of the favorites to win this year’s Heisman Trophy.
Instead, Georgia will have to function without its workhorse after the school and head coach Mark Richt indefinitely suspended Gurley “during an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules”, according to a release from the school.
“I’m obviously very disappointed,” Richt said in the release. “The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri.”
Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph reported the suspension stems from Gurley allegedly receiving compensation for his autograph.
“A source said the investigation involved whether Gurley received money in exchange for his autograph or use of his likeness,” Emerson wrote.
Richt’s preparation certainly becomes more difficult without the team’s best player available. With Gurley out of the lineup, freshmen Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will both be given bigger roles in the offense. The duo combined for 445 rushing yards splitting time behind Gurley.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel faced a similar situation prior to the 2013 campaign. Manziel was eventually handed a half-game suspension by the NCAA, but Gurley will likely be kept out of the lineup far longer than the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
UPDATE [10:00 p.m.]: SI.com’s Andy Staples provided more details regarding the accusations against Gurley:
“SI.com has learned that a person confirmed to Georgia’s compliance office this week that he paid Gurley $400 to sign 80 items on campus in Athens, Ga., one day this past spring,” Staple reported. “The person claimed to have a photo and video of Gurley signing the items, but neither the photo nor the video showed money changing hands.”
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Gurley’s supposed asking price for each signature: