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Nick Chubb Pushed Into Spotlight as Todd Gurley's Replacement at Georgia

Mark Richt

Mark Richt

The suspension of running back Todd Gurley has significantly altered the outlook of Georgia’s backfield for Saturday’s game against Missouri. Freshman Nick Chubb is expected to be Gurley’s replacement this week, and the true freshman is an intriguing player to watch in a critical matchup.

Chubb was a five-star recruit for coach Mark Richt, ranking as the No. 34 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite in the 2014 signing class. The Georgia native was regarded as a top-five recruit at running back and wasn’t expected to have a significant role in the backfield this year.

But at least for Saturday, the future is now in Athens, as Chubb is the Bulldogs’ best option at running back.

Junior Keith Marshall is dealing with a sprained knee and ankle and won’t be available, and fellow freshman Sony Michel is out due to a shoulder injury.

Chubb has rushed for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts in 2014 but has not attempted more than 11 rushes in a game this year.

Expect that to change on Saturday, as Chubb is now Georgia’s featured rusher and needs to be ready to handle 25-30 carries.

Missouri’s rush defense ranks No. 8 in the SEC and allowed 241 carries to Indiana on Sept. 20. Needless to say, the opportunities are there for Chubb to find running lanes. 

It’s a lot to ask Chubb to completely replicate Gurley’s production, as the junior was arguably the leader for the Heisman and was a first-team All-America selection at the midpoint of the season.

But Chubb has the skill-set to be an every-down back for coordinator Mike Bobo. The 5-foot-11 rusher has good speed and size and is capable of handling a full workload in the SEC.

So far, the limited sample size suggests Chubb is capable of living up to his recruiting hype. Now, it’s time for the true freshman to deliver. Georgia doesn’t have any other options on Saturday, and the Bulldogs somehow need Chubb to fill Gurley’s shoes.

Gurley’s overall production and value to the team won’t be replaced, but Chubb is a future star in Athens and is capable of performing at a high level in this situation. With the spotlight on the true freshman on Saturday, he will be one of the most intriguing players to watch in Week 7.

Not having Gurley for a critical game in the East Division standings isn’t ideal, but as long as Chubb stays healthy on Saturday, he’s got the talent to keep Missouri’s defense off balance for quarterback Hutson Mason.

Chubb wasn’t expected to start in 2014. However, it’s his time to shine on Saturday. Even though Gurley leaves big shoes to fill, everything suggests the true freshman is up to the task. Can Chubb help keep Georgia's SEC East title hopes alive? 

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