Georgia is Becoming the Next Running Back U
Players such as Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Knowshon Moreno, Rodney Hampton and Robert Edwards have all made their way through the Georgia program with varying degrees of success, establishing a tradition of fine running backs between the hedges.
But has UGA become the next "Running Back U?"
Auburn may hold that title in the SEC, and Alabama can certainly make a strong case with its latest string of running back success. But Georgia also may have something to say about that.
Head coach Mark Richt got good news Tuesday when the Bulldogs secured the commitment of Nick Chubb, a 5'11", 216-pound running back from Cedartown, Ga. Chubb is a 4-star prospect in the 247Sports.com composite index and the top running back in the state.
He rushed for a mind-boggling 2,697 yards and 38 touchdowns for Cedartown last season and has the size and speed to be an instant impact player for the Bulldogs if and when he arrives on campus.
However, judging by the stable of running backs headed to the program, he may not have to be an instant impact player.
Chubb joins another top running back in Georgia's class of 2014, Fort Lauderdale (American Heritage), Fla.'s Sony Michel. The 5'11", 205-pound Michel is a 5-star prospect in the 247Sports.com composite and is rated as the No. 1 player in the state of Florida.
"Chubb is a big, powerful back whose strongest skill is breaking tackles and running over defenders," 247Sports.com National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt said. "With that, he has good feet and speed. He's the Todd Gurley and Sony Michel is the Keith Marshall in this class, though neither is as fast as 'Gurshall'."
Recruiting classes don't matter until recruits sign on the dotted line in February, but having the top running back in Georgia and Florida committed before the 2013 season even starts is a "rich man's problem."
It's also a sign that Georgia has intentions of becoming the SEC's true "Running Back U."
Todd Gurley burst on the scene last season, rushing for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns as a true freshman. He also had 17 receiving yards and 243 return yards. He not only was named to the SEC's All-Freshman team but was a first-team all-conference selection from The Associated Press.
Not a bad debut.
And his running mate in the Georgia backfield wasn't too shabby either. Fellow true freshman Keith Marshall rushed for 758 yards and eight touchdowns himself. Serving as more of a change-up back, Marshall showed major big-play ability, leading the SEC with four rushes of 50 or more yards.
Will Georgia have a legitimate argument to be considered "Running Back U" by the time Nick Chubb and Sony Michel leave Athens?
Assuming Chubb and Michel do wind up signing, you're talking about a potential six- or even seven-year span of ultra-talented running backs taking handoffs in Athens, depending on whether they redshirt .
That's pretty strong.
Plus, the future looks bright. Taj Griffin, the No. 1 all-purpose back in the class of 2015, according to 247Sports, hails from suburban Atlanta and is high on Georgia, and the school is after a couple of running backs in the state of Florida as well.
It looks like "Uncle Mo" is on Georgia's side when it comes to running backs, and that bodes well for the future.
Will it be enough to claim the title of "Running Back U?" That's impossible to answer. Alabama seemingly never-ending stream of running back talent and Texas A&M's growing stable will certainly have something to say about it. But it certainly looks like a legitimate possibility.
*Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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