University of Georgia football history is littered with great running backs. A look through the all-time Bulldogs roster reveals national-championship winners, Heisman Trophy winners, and some members of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Younger Georgia fans will recall the successful recent years for the Dawgs, which have included a phenomenal run of running backs. Here, however, we will be looking back through time at many of the men who set the standard for a great ground game in Athens.

Let’s run through Georgia football history to discover some of the best rushing talent. Here we present you with the 10 all-time greatest Georgia Bulldogs running backs.

Who are the Georgia Bulldogs running backs in 2023?

Kendall Milton is Georgia’s most experienced running back this season, as he is now in his fourth year with the program. Milton rushed for 594 yards and nine touchdowns for the Bulldogs last season, splitting carries with both Kenny McIntosh and Daijun Edwards.

McIntosh has moved on to the NFL and is now with the Seattle Seahawks, leaving both Milton and Edwards to carry the rushing load for Georgia in 2023.

They are joined by freshman Roderick Robinson II, a four-star recruit who expected to see some work in the Georgia backfield this season.

Georgia Bulldogs Running Backs History

The Bulldogs can make the case that UGA is truly RBU (Running Backs University), because Georgia has developed some of the greatest talents in college football history. This legacy stretches from modern-day stars such as Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley back to the legendary Herschel Walker in the 1980s, and then all the way back to Charley Trippi, who became the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 1945 after starring for Georgia at both halfback and quarterback.

Famous Georgia Bulldogs Running Backs

It feels as if Georgia’s top rushers have been among college football’s very best for many years. In recent seasons, the Bulldogs have sent Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift, Sony Michel, and Todd Gurley on to the NFL. Those players have been part of a rich history that includes stars such as Garrison Hearst and the great Herschel Walker.

Walker is not only the greatest running back in Georgia football history, but also one of the greatest players who ever played college football at any position. He was recognized as the top college player when he won the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1982 after one of the greatest single-season performances in college football history. The College Football Hall of Famer won just about every award that year and remains an iconic figure for Georgia Bulldogs fans. 

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Georgia Running Backs of All Time

  1. Frank Sinkwich

Seasons with Georgia: 1940 to 1942

To begin this list, we’ll dial it back to the 1940s, when college football was a much bigger deal than the NFL game. Frank Sinkwich was Georgia’s first-ever Heisman winner, but not all his work involved running the football. He also impacted the game as a passer, contributing 2,331 yards through the air and tallying a perfect split of 30 touchdowns as a passer and 30 as a rusher. As the program’s first Heisman winner, Sinkwich remains a household name for Georgia fans and is one of only a few players to have had his number retired.

His versatility proved just as useful in the NFL, and he was recognized as that league’s MVP in 1944. He only played two pro seasons before joining the Air Force after his MVP year. While serving in the military, Sinkwich suffered a serious knee injury playing for the Air Force football team. That injury would unfortunately bring an early end to his career.

  1. Lars Tate

Seasons with Georgia: 1984 to 1987

Lars Tate was a big, bruising running back who wasn’t as flashy as some of the other players on this list. Tate, however, was consistent -- averaging 4.9 yards per carry and regularly finding the end zone. He would finish his college career with 36 touchdowns, which ties him with Todd Gurley for the third-highest total in Bulldogs history.

Tate was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Despite not posting an overly impressive yardage total, he did lead 1988 NFL rookie running backs in touchdowns with eight and rushing yards with 467. The following year, he rushed for 589 yards and had nine total touchdowns, but was released after the season.

His began his third and final year in the NFL with the Chicago Bears but his season ended swiftly when he suffered a career-threatening neck injury. Unfortunately, he was never able to play another snap after that.

  1. Charley Trippi

Seasons with Georgia: 1942, 1945 to 1946

Charley Trippi was a fascinating player who starred for the Georgia Bulldogs at both running back and quarterback before going on to play multiple positions in the NFL. Those positions even included defensive back and punter.

“In those days, the more things a player did, the more pay he could demand,” Trippi said years later. “I could run, kick, pass and catch, and that made me a valuable property.”

Football was a very different game in the 1940s, and Trippi makes this list for his passing ability as well as his rushing talent. Given his significant time at QB, it might seem a bit unfair to rank him ahead of some other former Georgia running backs, but he was a truly special player who went on to the Hall of Fame. In Georgia’s 1942 season, Trippi was the best player on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, helping his team to a famous Rose Bowl victory. He was a two-time All-American, winner of the Maxwell Award, and Heisman runner-up.

In his professional career, Trippi played for the Chicago Cardinals. The NFL of that era was the perfect playground in which he could showcase his many talents. His career highlight came in the 1947 NFL championship game, when he helped the Cardinals to victory with two punt returns totaling 102 yards, a 44-yard TD reception, and a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. Trippi was clearly a unique and special player.

  1. Terrell Davis

Seasons with Georgia: 1992 to 1994

When it comes to success enjoyed by former Georgia RBs in the NFL, it doesn’t get much more impressive than what Terrell Davis managed to accomplish. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and is best known for his Super Bowl MVP performance with the Denver Broncos in 1997.

Davis’ remarkable Super Bowl showing saw him carry the ball 30 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns to help the Broncos defeat the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t let up after this standout effort, going on to win NFL MVP for the 1998 season, thanks to an incredible 2,008-yard rushing effort. He also scored 21 touchdowns in 1998 to cap off one of the greatest years ever recorded by an NFL running back. Fittingly, the Broncos went on to win another Super Bowl that season.

Davis’ Hall of Fame pro career was preceded by a surprisingly modest college career with Georgia. He averaged a solid 5.2 yards per carry, but never topped 824 yards. As a result, he wasn’t selected until the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft, where Denver landed him. His career was unfortunately cut short after numerous injury-plagued seasons after the second Super Bowl victory. His dominance was never in question, however. Terrell Davis, one of the greatest running backs to ever grace an NFL field, certainly deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame.

  1. Knowshon Moreno

Seasons with Georgia: 2007 to 2008

Knowshon Moreno was a slightly undersized Georgia running back who made his presence felt by playing with tough physicality, matched by impressive shiftiness. He only played two college seasons but made up for lost time by winning SEC Freshman of the Year in 2007, while also being named to the All-SEC First Team. He played one more year before entering the NFL Draft. His career collegiate stats include 2,734 rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns along with 645 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.

His production was good enough to prompt the Denver Broncos to select Moreno with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, that selection will go down as a bust, because Moreno broke 1,000 rushing yards in only one NFL season. That career year came in 2013, when he also had 10 touchdowns. It would also be his last season in Denver. He moved to Miami in 2014, where he suffered an early-season ACL injury that brough his NFL career to a premature end.

  1. Garrison Hearst

Seasons with Georgia: 1990 to 1992

Garrison Hearst was best known for his elite speed, which helped him rack up 3,232 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns for Georgia between 1990 and 1992. His sparkling college career reached its peak in 1992, when he set then-SEC records for total points scored with 126, rushing touchdowns with 19, and total touchdowns with 21. He also rushed for 1,547 yards with an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. This led to his being named an All-American selection, SEC Player of the Year, and winner of the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the country.

Hearst was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1993, and it took him awhile to get going in the NFL. He hit his stride in 1995 when he recorded his first 1,000-yard rushing season. That was a milestone he managed to reach four times in a strong five-year stretch. His most impressive season came in 2001 with San Francisco, when Hearst rushed for 1,206 yards after missing the two previous years due to a serious injury. He won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award for his efforts, although he unfortunately never again topped 1,000 yards in a season.

  1. Sony Michel

Seasons with Georgia: 2014 to 2017

It is only fitting to rank Sony Michel one spot away from Nick Chubb on this list, because the two were partners in crime for the Bulldogs throughout most of their college careers. Michel first got his chance as Georgia’s starting RB when Chubb was injured in 2015 and capitalized in fine fashion by running for 1,136 yards and eight touchdowns. Once Michel established himself alongside Chubb, the genie was out of the bottle, and there was no putting it back in. The result was one of the most dominant running-back duos in college history, as Michel and Chubb helped take Georgia on its first-ever College Football Playoff run in 2017.

Michel’s college career was highlighted by an exceptional 2018 Rose Bowl performance that saw him rush for 181 yards, catch passes for 41 yards, and score four touchdowns. It was a truly game-wrecking performance -- one of the best ever by a Georgia running back.

Michel went on to have an unusual NFL career. He only managed to play five full seasons -- choosing to retire during the 2023 offseason -- but left game with two Super Bowl rings. Drafted by the New England Patriots in 2018, Michel immediately made his mark by helping the team win Super Bowl LIII. That’s not a bad way to start one’s NFL career! On Feb. 13, 2022, Michel won another Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, but he decided to end to his short but successful career one year later.

  1. Nick Chubb

Seasons with Georgia: 2014 to 2017

Nick Chubb is the only player on this list who is still active in the NFL, and he’s playing at a very high level. Last year, Chubb finished with the league’s third-most rushing yards (1,525) and is regarded as one of the pro game’s best true runners.

Like many Georgia running backs on this list, Chubb’s talent was evident early on, as he rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman to claim SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Current NFL fans are well aware of Chubb’s lethal combination of speed and power, which helped him to a grand total of 4,769 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns in college. Each of these ranks No. 2 on the Bulldogs’ career rushing lists, and that status is even more impressive when one recalls that Chubb missed much of his 2015 season due to injury. He returned from that injury and picked up right where he left off -- helping the Bulldogs to their first-ever College Football Playoff run in 2017.

Chubb was selected by the Cleveland Browns early in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He remains in Cleveland more than five years later and has already enjoyed a stellar pro career. Chubb has had four Pro Bowl seasons, rushing for at least 1,000 yards in each of them. He would be a perfect 5-for-5 in 1,000-yard seasons as a pro had he not come up four yards short of that mark in his rookie season.

  1. Todd Gurley

Seasons with Georgia: 2012 to 2014

Todd Gurley took the NFL by storm in his rookie season -- rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. This kind of production was expected from Gurley, based on his high draft position.

Gurley was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after an impressive college career in which he rushed for 3,285 yards and 36 touchdowns over three seasons. He had his best year for Georgia as a freshman, when he rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns to place himself firmly on the watchlist for a potential future Heisman trophy.

Unfortunately, injuries and a four-game suspension prevented Gurley from putting the finishing touches on what looked to be a college career for the ages. Thankfully, it didn’t affect his draft stock, and he had a fantastic start to his NFL career.

After his dominant rookie year, Gurley topped 1,000 combined yards in each of the next four years, with the best seasons coming in 2017 and 2018. He totaled 2,093 and 1,831 yards from scrimmage in back-to-back years, earning votes for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. Those two big seasons earned him a lucrative new contract from the Rams in 2018. Famously, the huge show of faith backfired for the Rams. Gurley struggled in 2019, before moving to the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 for what would be his final season in the league.

  1. Herschel Walker

Seasons with Georgia: 1980-1982

Herschel Walker was huge. His 6-foot-1, 222-pound frame towered over other college athletes, and his stats left them all in the dust. In three seasons at Georgia, Walker amassed an outrageous 5,259 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns, and his video highlights from that era make him look like a man among boys. Georgia Bulldogs fans will tell you that Walker is the greatest Georgia running back of all time.

His numbers set team records in almost every rushing category, and he is also the most recent Heisman winner to come from UGA. He won that Heisman as a junior in 1982, when he rushed for 1,752 yards and 16 touchdowns. He then jumped to the upstart USFL rather than return for his final year of college eligibility.

Walker’s impressive performances continued in the NFL. He spent a lot of time in the NFC East, playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants during his 12-year career. He also spent three seasons in Minnesota. As an NFL player, Walker recorded two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, with his best year coming in 1988 when he ran for 1,514 yards and caught passes for 505 yards to break the 2,000-combined-yards barrier. Unfortunately, a lack of any other major accomplishments has kept him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he had a solid NFL career, nonetheless. In 12 seasons, he logged 8,225 yards and 61 touchdowns on the ground, amassing a further 4,859 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air.

Parameters for Rankings

This list of the best running backs in Georgia football history has been organized based on each player’s contribution to the Bulldogs program. While the players’ NFL accomplishments have also been mentioned, they did not factor into these rankings.


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