Fran Tarkenton: Georgia running back Todd Gurley 'can be as good as Jim Brown'

Sam Cooper
Gurley shines in Georgia's big win over Clemson
Georgia's Todd Gurley, right, runs past the reach of Clemson's Tony Steward in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 45-21. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In the days following his dominant performance in Georgia’s season-opening win over Clemson, Todd Gurley has seen nothing but praise – and rightly so.

On Monday, former UGA great Herschel Walker told Sports Illustrated that Gurley is “the best running back in college football.” Thursday morning, NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, a UGA grad and long-time Minnesota Vikings quarterback, took it a step further and compared Gurley to one of the best football players of all-time.

“I’ve never seen a running back dominate like he did,” Tarkenton said on 680 The Fan, per the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I played against a guy named Jim Brown – the greatest running back that ever lived. There is no doubt about it. Todd Gurley can be as good as Jim Brown.”

Once Tarkenton said this, the show’s host, Chris Dimino, was immediately taken aback by the comparison and asked for further clarification.

Tarkenton then repeated: “He can be as good as Jim Brown.”

I don’t know if praise can get any higher than that. After a dominant college career at Syracuse, Brown only played in the NFL for nine years but still broke every major rushing record at the time, including some that still stand to this day.

Gurley racked up 298 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 45-21 win to start off his junior campaign. He burst onto the scene with 1,385 yards and 17 scores as a freshman. An injury kept him out of three games in 2013, but he still rushed for 989 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now 100 percent healthy, Gurley has already been pegged as a Heisman candidate. Tarkenton’s praise will only heighten that.

As far as the comparison goes, it’s definitely a stretch right now. Maybe the two have similar playing styles and Gurley’s body type compares favorably to Brown, but I think Gurley would be the first one to say that he has a long way to go before approaching the same level as Brown.

Georgia has a bye this week, but Gurley’s next chance to wow the nation will come on the road against South Carolina on September 13.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!