SEC football: 2015 Heisman hopefuls

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Dec 30, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) stiff arms Louisville Cardinals cornerback Terell Floyd (19) during the first quarter of the Belk Bowl held at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Chubb, running back, Georgia

Nick Chubb took the SEC by storm last season, as he put his elite running back skills on full display in Todd Gurley’s absence. He will not be catching anyone by surprise this year, but the Georgia running back is so talented that it may not even matter.

Chubb received his opportunity when Todd Gurley, a future first round draft pick, was suspended for accepting money from a sports memorabilia dealer in exchange for signing autographs. The true freshman did not disappoint, with the argument being made that when they were on the field in 2014, Chubb was the better overall player.

He showed off a lethal combination of breakaway speed and an uncanny ability to punish defenders with his physicality. The result was 1,547 rushing yards, good for second most in the SEC behind Auburn’s Cameron Artis-Payne. His 7.1 yards per carry were the best in the conference, and his 14 touchdowns tied him with Dak Prescott for the SEC lead.

The fact that Chubb was able to accomplish all of this as a true freshman is nothing short of outstanding, and even if he does not win the award in 2015, the hype will certainly be in place for him to make another run as a junior before he bolts for the NFL.

As for now, he has built a pretty solid foundation for his Heisman campaign with a 266-yard, two-touchdown performance in Georgia’s bowl game to cap of an outstanding freshman season.

Next: Derrick Henry