Any Given Saturday, Week 7: Gone Gurley

The circle of strife continues at UGA. Washaun Ealey beget Isiah Crowell beget Todd Gurley who beget Nick Chubb. Crowell’s departure after a heralded freshman season was due to repeated run-ins with the law. No matter what happens next, Gurley's reputation and Bulldog legacy will remain intact.

We all knew the value of running backs has declined dramatically in the NFL, but Todd Gurley seemed special.

I use his name in the past tense because apparently, he doesn’t even know his own value. Johnny Manziel receive a half-game for signing autographs in exchange for six-figure payday—allegedly.  

Cam Newton’s father attempted to procure six-figures to be blessed with Newton’s talent for one season.

Gurley may have signed away his potential to be named the Heisman Trophy winner for approximately $400 dollars on 80 items in spring.

Not only has his shot at college football’s greatest individual honors at an impasse, but UGA’s season hangs in the balance as well. Gurley is Amy Dunne. Gone Gurley. Missing in action when his team needs him most. But the public sentiment is in his favor.

With Keith Marshall and Sony Michel nursing injuries that will keep them out for this weekend against No. 23 Missouri, true freshman Nick Chubbs is now the most proven running back for Mark Richt to turn to.

Apparently, the individual with information about Gurley’s signature signing has been shooting flares into the night’s sky for weeks now.

SB Nation received a tip about an autograph dealer who was peddling information related to a five-minute video showing Gurley pressing his signature into memorabilia. However, there was no video of Gurley’s cash exchange.

SB Nation was contacted by the memorabilia dealer, who was eager to spill his guts anonymously, but dropped the story on Sept. 30 because they did not want to be complicit in aiding the NCAA’s arcane amateurism rules.

Twelve days ago, a memorabilia dealer reiterated his claim from a previous Reddit AMA that a prominent Heisman contender was going overboard with his paid autograph sessions.

Reddit’s crack team of detectives was all over the story 12 days ago. A cursory eBay search for signed autograph memorabilia turned up turned up 258 results for Gurley, 262 for Winston in comparison to 40 for Mariota.

According to what sources told ESPN’s business reporter Darren Rovell, Gurley was seeking $8 to $25 per signature.

Gurley was clearly giving his legs a rest and improving his wrist and hand endurance more than any other playmaker in college football during the offseason and his saturation of the market pissed off a few leeches.  

This alleged memorabilia dealer has requested to remain anonymous because he lives in Georgia, but that shouldn’t fly.  

He’s not testifying against the mob. He’s talking to the NCAA about a college kid’s legal money-making scheme.

Now that he gets to violate the trust between himself and the man he engaged in a business transaction with, he shouldn’t get to hide.

Other student-athletes should be made aware of his identity so they’re given an informed choice about his nefarious and selfish intentions.

Hershel Walker will always be engraved into history and the memory banks of Generation X’ers who witnessed his exploits first hand as the greatest player in UGA’s storied history.

Gurley wasn’t in a position to unseat Walker from his throne in Athens, but he was so impactful that he couldn’t be limited to his rank among UGA’s all-time running backs.

Gurley was nestled into a clump of players that included Matt Stafford, AJ Green, Knowshon Moreno, Champ Bailey, Fran Tarkenton, David Greene, David Pollack and the forgotten UGA Heisman winning tailback Frank Sinkwich. He had an opportunity to juxtapose himself alongside Sinkwich and Walker in the penthouse Heisman suite.

As a former UGA student, this was a bigger gut punch than Nick Marshall’s Hail Mary and LSU being selected by the BCS to play for the national title. The pain wll be more excruciating if Gurley’s absence forces Hutson Mason to play an unfamiliar style and fling the ball 30 times and Georgia suffers its second loss to Missouri on the road Saturday.

Even in the SEC’s secret division, hidden better than Kuato from Total Recall, there was a belief that he would the Bulldogs back to national championship glory on his way out of the amateur exits.

This morning,’s Bucky Brooks delved into how this scandal would affect Gurley’s draft stock. It’s an asinine question, but it’s one that will be wondered aloud. His ultimate conclusion was that it would mean about as much as a fly on a windshield.

In truth, this may be beneficial to Gurley. There are only so many miles on the average running back’s odometer and if Gurley never carries the ball again for UGA, not only is his legacy intact, but he’ll be a martyr.



Dak Prescott (Mississippi State, QB) – Well, who saw this coming? This weekend, he can stitch himself to the top spot in everyone’s Heisman prognostications against an Auburn defense that is light years ahead of where it was in Ellis Johnson’s first season. Prescott’s at the tail end of a three-week slate against eighth-ranked team in the nation, the sixth-ranked team and second-ranked Auburn.

Amari Cooper (Alabama,WR) – As far as we’re concerned Cooper remains in the running. Against an Ole Miss defense that has been absolutely smothering wideouts, Cooper had his worst outing of the season: nine catches for 91 yards. I’ll take that over Mariota’s 2.5 fumbles any day.

Marcus Mariota (Oregon, QB) – There seems to be a lack of quality candidates and out of necessity, we’ve circled around back to the Salvation Army to recycle the Emperor with no clothes. UCLA’s athletic defense has the potential to devastate Mariota. On the other hand, Mariota rising to the occasion and blistering the Bruins could make for an interesting storyline.

Todd Gurley (UGA, RB) – It remains to be seen when Gurley will be seen again, but he's already put his signature on the Heisman race despite the bizarre predicament he's currently wrapped up in.



The Magnolia State hasn’t been this hot since Mississippi Burning was tearing up the box office. Instead of traipsing in their usual second-class territory alongside the SEC’s hoi polloi, the Rebels are walking among the nation’s upper-crust.

Although, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is being bombarded with praise, the Ole Miss’ Landsharks defense is the real momentum behind their rise.

Offenses used to lapping the field like Michael Phelps in a community pool are diminished to a panicking pair of scratched, legs dangling from a donut flotation device too far out from shore when they parry with Ole Miss.

Dak Prescott is Mississippi’s most popular celebrity.

He flows through Southeastern defenses and Missouri more fluidly than the Mississippi River and his throwing ability has improved to the point that NFL scouts are carpooling to his games.

They chomp up and consume anything that gets in their path. Robert Nkemdiche, Cody Prewitt, Denzel Nkemdich, Senquez Golson, Deterrian Shackelford and C.J. Johnson comprise a unit that’s winning like a traditional SEC team.

Conversely, Mississippi State wins with an offense that creates wormholes into the endzone.

Prescott is a combination of Tim Tebow’s size, but with Cam Newton’s natural ability. Mississippi State’s never had a quarterback of his caliber.

Todd Gurley’s indefinite suspension creates a vacancy for Prescott to fill just in time for the biggest game of his entire life. His potential Heisman destination is much closer now that the front runner may have been disqualified from the process before a pivotal weekend in his campaign.

Mississippi isn’t burning, but it’s hot alright.