Nick Chubb: 2015 Heisman Trophy Finalist?

Nick Chubb broke onto the UGA scene last year when fellow teammate Todd Gurley tore his ACL. Could Chubb walk away with the Heisman Trophy in his sophomore year?

Nick Chubb hid behind Todd Gurley on the UGA Bulldogs depth chart, amassing 31 carries in his first five games. However, the NCAA suspended Todd Gurley indefinitely when he admitted to taking money for autographs, thus allowing Chubb the chance to shine when given the chance. Nick Chubb stole the scene in Athens, rushing for 1547 yards on 219 carries.

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In November of 2014, Todd Gurley suffered an ACL injury that ultimately ended his season and career at the University of Georgia. While UGA fan’s were definitely distraught at losing their superstar, Nick Chubb put up a career-year as a freshman, finishing the season with 14 touchdowns. Also, notably, Chubb finished the 2014 season with eighth straight 100-yard rushing games, eclipsing the 200-yard mark twice during the streak.

Entering the 2015 season, Nick Chubb was atop the Bulldogs depth chart and poised for a monster season. He has not disappointed in 2015, continuing his 100-yard streak in each of the first four games, totaling 12-straight games with 100 yards or more rushing. By doing so, this put Chubb in unique company, tying Herschel Walker’s university record of 12. To be compared to Walker in any sense places Chubb in an elite club. 

Nick Chubb started off 2015 with a bang, and he is currently sitting in second place on ESPN’s Heisman Watch, with LSU’s Leonard Fournette leading the way. Fournette seems to be a man among boys when running on the football field, totaling 631 yard and eight touchdowns in just three games this season (due to LSU’s home-opener against McNeese St. being cancelled). However, Chubb is not far behind on those numbers.

This season, Nick Chubb averages an eye-popping 8.44 yards per carry (YPC), compared to Fournette’s 8.64 yards per carry. Moreover, Chubb’s 599 rushing yards are only slightly behind Fournette’s 631. In year’s past, UGA relied heavily on the run game, but so far this season, UGA quarterback Greyson Lambert has proved to be an asset on the playing field, limiting Chubb’s touches. As a starter this season, Chubb is averaging a middling 17.8 carries per game, compared to Fournette’s 24.3 carries per game.

UGA has not had to lean on Nick Chubb as much as last season; also, the team continues to blow out their opponents, reducing the starters’ usage in the first few games. As the season progresses, look for Chubb’s carries per game to increase, ultimately allowing his counting stats to skyrocket in the process. LSU is one-trick show, leaning heavily on their run game, so Leonard Fournette will continue to see a bulk-load of carries.

With LSU and UGA both ranked in the top-25 in the nation, Nick Chubb and Leonard Fournette will continue to head the Heisman Watch. UGA has a great chance to go undefeated this season, if they can get past a talent Alabama Crimson Tide team in week five. With the SEC East being weak compared to the West, UGA could potentially waltz into the SEC Chamionship, likely vaulting Chubb as Hesiman favorite. 

Look for UGA to continue to utilize Chubb’s abilities this season; however, the resurgence of their passing game could hurt Chubb’s Heisman stock. But if Chubb continues to put up great numbers, the fact that he is not getting a ton of carries per game should be overshadowed by his strong play. Nick Chubb will look to eclipse Walker’s 100-yard rushing streak this week against the University of Alabama.

Ultimately, this Heisman race could be a two-headed giant throughout the season between Nick Chubb and Leonard Fournette. However, with UGA’s easier schedule, Chubb could be in the driver’s seat from here-on-out. Look for the Dawgs to lean on him in tough situations this week, and Chubb should show why he is a Heisman front-runner.