Derek Mason: Nick Chubb is best SEC rusher I've faced

Whether Nick Chubb will ever be on a level with the Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley as a pro is a question that could take years to answer.

But as a college running back, Chubb is Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason's choice.

"... Nick Chubb is the best running back in this conference that I've faced," Mason told FOX Sports.

Gurley must have made quite an impression on Mason in 2014, rushing for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries in a 44-17 Georgia win. It was the last game Gurley played before incurring a four-game suspension from the NCAA for profiting from autographed memorabilia, and the only time he ever played against Vanderbilt with Mason on the opposing sideline.

Chubb's impression, however, was apparently stronger.

The junior ran for more yards than did Gurley, and on fewer carries, against the Commodores in a 31-14 win last season. Chubb averaged roughly 10 yards per carry in that game against Vanderbilt for a season-high 189 yards. Chubb could be available for the 2017 or 2018 NFL drafts, depending on whether he applies for early draft eligibility after the season.

"Nick Chubb is really special. His feet never stop. He always moves the line of scrimmage," Mason said. "He can anticipate contact and his ability to offset tacklers from angles is unbelievable. That's an innate ability. His ability to see what's happening in front him and react on a dime."

Commodores LB Zach Cunningham, ranked the nation's No. 6 linebacker by NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein, described Chubb as "on par" with Gurley, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Most important for Chubb, of course, is to regain healthy form after a knee injury against Tennessee on Oct. 15 ended his season. Gurley, in fact, offered some words of encouragement for his former Bulldogs teammate this week.

Georgia opens the season on Sept. 3 against North Carolina, and barring a setback in his recovery during fall camp, Chubb is expected to be ready to play. Mason and the Commodores will get a second chance to stop Chubb when Vanderbilt visits UGA on Oct. 15.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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