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Richt: Georgia RB Todd Gurley will be well-prepared for NFL

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press
Georgia RB Todd Gurley's 2013 season was plagued by injuries.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt has been even less shy about identifying Bulldogs star running back Todd Gurley as a potential early NFL draft entry than Gurley himself. One reason? The complexities of the Georgia offense that Richt compared to any in the NFL.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks digs deep into the game tape to evaluate college football's most talented players.

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"In our offensive system at Georgia, I don't think there's one thing that any of our backs, when they go to the NFL, I don't think there will be one thing they haven't been exposed to in our system," Richt said Thursday at SEC Media Days. "They obviously must learn how to pass protect, not only just slide and block the in-man on the line. It's complicated how we protect. We might change who the Mike linebacker is on the line of scrimmage, now he's got to redirect who he's going to protect for the quarterback. ... But, you know, whether Todd stays another year or not, I don't know. But if he stays healthy, I think he's one of the better players in America, no doubt about it."

The rising junior has averaged nearly 1,200 yards per season in his first two years of college, despite missing a full month last season with an ankle injury. At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Gurley's specialty is power rushing between the tackles, but he also possesses breakaway speed if he gets past the defensive front seven.

"He makes all the linebackers better (in practice)," said Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson. "His size, his strength, his speed, he has everything."

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Playing without the ball -- pass protection, running pass routes, etc., -- can sometimes be a hurdle for college running backs that enter the NFL lacking a well-rounded set of skills. According to Richt, however, Gurley won't have that problem at the next level, either.

Not unexpectedly, Gurley himself delivered an effective stiff-arm to the early entry question.

"You'll have to ask me that after the season," he said.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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