Georgia's Todd Gurley returns healthy to contend for Heisman

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Georgia opened spring practice Tuesday, and the best part of the day for Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was a healthy Todd Gurley.

Gurley, who will be a junior in the fall, should be one of the top three running backs in the nation, and if the Bulldogs are going to challenge for the SEC East title, Gurley must remain healthy throughout the season. He was banged-up last season with ankle and hip injuries and missed three games and parts of two others, but still rushed for 989 yards and 10 touchdowns. He practiced Tuesday without limitations, according to onlineathens.com's Marc Weiszer. Gurley will head into the season as a prominent part of the Heisman discussion, as will fellow tailbacks Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska.

Gurley also is an accomplished receiver -- he had 37 receptions for 441 yards and six TDs in 2013 and 16 receptions as a true freshman. His receiving ability is better than that of every other running back seeking the "best running back in the nation" moniker.

Gurley will be the focal point of the Bulldogs' offense this fall; Georgia will be breaking in a new quarterback, Hutson Mason, after four years of Aaron Murray.

Gurley, listed at 6-foot-1 and 232 pounds last season, is a physical between-the-tackles runner who also possesses good speed and can turn the corner. He has 13 100-yard games in his career and has rushed for 27 TDs.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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