Former UGA star running back Todd Gurley returned to the state this year to play for the Atlanta Falcons with plans to become more engaged with the UGA and local community through a partnership with the school announced Thursday.
Gurley, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, will mentor current Georgia athletes and speak to them about social justice, creating value beyond sport, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, according to Roc Nation, which represents Gurley.
The sixty-year NFL pro’s foundation — Make A Difference Every Day (M.A.D.E) will host events for the local Athens community and take part in philanthropic donor events for The Georgia Bulldog Club.
The foundation is taking part in UGA football’s “Dawgs for Pups” campaign which will assist in raising funds to help provide internet access to kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the Athens-Clarke County School District. It will aim through donation to provide digital learning for more than 1,000 families and 2,500 students during the pandemic.
“Athens is my second home, and playing for the Falcons will allow me to spend more time there,” Gurley said in a statement. “UGA fans embraced me as a young man, and that support has stayed with me throughout my time in the NFL. I am looking forward to getting to know the students and alumni, and making a difference in the community that has meant so much to me.”
Grateful @universityofga @OfficialMadeFDN pic.twitter.com/OhUKUH6DgY
— Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) September 3, 2020
The “Dawgs for Pups,” idea came out of a football team meeting.
“This was a player-driven initiative that our guys came up with during a team meeting,” coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. “I’m proud of all of the ideas and look forward to seeing the positive changes that come from this and other projects. I want to challenge the Bulldog Nation to donate and help us bring these Clarke County students the wireless service they need during these challenging times.”
Dawgs For Pups | Join our student-athletes in helping to bring internet to students in our community. Click this link to donate: https://t.co/eqCi54uq7g pic.twitter.com/GrDNA3BJFH
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 3, 2020
Gurley was an NFL first round draft pick of the Rams in 2015 and was selected as All-SEC as a freshman and sophomore. He rushed for 3,285 yards and 36 touchdowns from 2012-14 in a career cut short by NCAA suspension and a knee injury.
“Todd is an outstanding ambassador for our program,” senior deputy athletic director Josh Brooks said. “Now that he’s in our backyard, we’re excited to engage Todd in several areas. This partnership will not only create meaningful programming for our student-athletes, but also impact our local community.”