Nick Chubb was the best freshman in college football last season. Period.
The Georgia running back wasn’t expected to finish as the SEC’s second leading rusher, let alone the top running back on his own team. That glory was reserved for Todd Gurley, who despite coming off an injury, was poised to dominate opposing defenses during a historic junior season.
But as fate would have it, Chubb emerged as the star following Gurley’s four-game suspension and eventual season-ending injury suffered in his return. The freshman recorded more than 100 yards in each of the Bulldogs’ final eight games and recorded 1,323 yards and averaged 165.4 yards per game on 7.0 yards per carry. He totaled 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns on 219 attempts in 2014.
Chubb’s debut season put him in elite company, and by that I mean Herschel Walker. The freshman finished with the fourth best single season in school history behind Walker’s Heisman winning and SEC record setting junior year, as well as his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
In 2015, Chubb enters the college football season as the biggest star in the SEC. Georgia is the favorite to win an open SEC East, aside from reigning division champion Missouri and an improved Tennessee team.
The focus will be on Chubb all season to carry the Bulldogs offense and excel in a run-heavy scheme. But there are several questions facing the former five-star prospect.
Georgia will be without former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach in 2007. Enter Brian Schottenheimer, a former NFL assistant with past ties to the SEC as a former Florida quarterback.
Schottenheimer will bring a pro-style offense similar to that of Bobo during his tenure in Athens. With an open battle for the starting quarterback position, Chubb will continue to be the focal point of the Bulldog offense.
The pressure shouldn’t be a problem for the sophomore, who emerged as a star in the absence of Gurley and saw his best performance in Georgia’s biggest game. Chubb recorded 266 yards and two touchdowns during the Bulldogs’ 37-14 victory against No. 24 Louisville in the 2014 Belk Bowl.
There is always the risk of a sophomore slump, but Chubb is far from the average player. With several big names entering the NFL Draft, the Georgia tailback enters 2015 as the biggest name in the SEC. Should he stay healthy, Chubb has a serious chance to be considered for the Heisman Trophy and nab SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors in his second season.