Todd Gurley II Is Taking the Leap

You might recognize the Rams’ Todd Gurley II from a couple places. Most likely the end zone, where he spent most of his third NFL season, scoring thirteen touchdowns on the ground and six by air—that’s more TDs to his name than any other running back, and even some starting quarterbacks. (He nabbed Offensive Player of the Year, natch.) Or, if you’re an opposing defender, you might recognize Gurley from the goddamn sky. He made a habit of effortlessly hurdling over people on the other team, who were left tackling air, wondering how a six-foot-one, 230-pound man had simply vanished.

So how does Todd Gurley, the 23-year-old centerpiece of the NFL’s most powerful offense, do it? Here, he answers that—and why he’d rather be playing basketball.

GQ: You’re famous for leaping over defenders. In the moment, how do you decide if you’re going to jump over him?Todd Gurley: It’s really like a last-minute decision, man. It’s what position my body is in, and it’s like my last move… I really don’t think about it. It really just happens.

It’s worked every time so far, but do you worry that it’s kind of…dangerous?Nah, not really. I mean, it’s football, so I’ve felt worse.

Do you train for it?Nah, man. I’ve done hurdles in high school. I was just always good at that.

It almost feels like something out of Madden.It’s unexpected, for sure. Most of the time it’s when the defenders are trying to go low on your legs or your knees. You just feel like you could hurdle them without losing your momentum.

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Defenders are going low today, so maybe the jump is a good response to that.Yeah, all the new rules in the NFL—staying away from the head/neck area—has forced defenders to go low nowadays.

Do you think we’ll see more running backs that’ll start leaping?There will be more hurdling for sure.

You said you did track. Did you always want to play football?I always did football, man. I played basketball. That’s everyone’s real dream, but that didn’t work out too well.

So if you could just magically take all your talents and become a basketball player, you would do that?Oh yeah, most definitely.