Georgia Football: Why the Bulldogs Are Regaining the 'Tailback U' Name

Brian JonesContributor IJune 13, 2013

Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) carries the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter in the 2012 SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit:  Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It was a good week for the Georgia Bulldogs, as they received four class of 2014 commitments.

One of them is Nick Chubb, who is considered by many as the best running back recruit in Georgia. In 2012, Chubb rushed for 2,375 yards and 33 touchdowns in 10 games for Cedartown High School.

Chubb will join Sony Michel, who is a five-star recruit from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as the two top-backs in Georgia’s 2014 signing class.

So, with those two along with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, it can be safe to say that Georgia is looking to regain its “Tailback U” name.

In the past, Georgia was always known for its production in the running game. It obviously started with Herschel Walker in the early 80s, but that led to more running backs making a name for themselves in Athens.

Tim Worley and Rodney Hampton made waves for the Bulldogs in the late and early 80s. Worley rushed for over 1,200 yards in 1988, and Hampton rushed for 2,668 career yards from 1987-89.

After that, it was Garrison Hearst who was the top running back for the Bulldogs, and he was the most accomplished back since Walker. Hearst won the Doak Walker Award in 1992 and placed third in the Heisman Trophy balloting the same year.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Bulldogs had good running backs like Robert Edwards, Terrell Davis, Musa Smith and Verron Haynes.

But none of them made an impact like Knowshon Moreno did in 2007 and 2008. Moreno rushed for over 1,000 yards in both seasons, making him the first back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Smith in 2002.

When Moreno left, the Bulldogs struggled the last few years to find a back or two to make an impact. Caleb King, Washaun Ealey and Isaiah Crowell were all highly recruited backs, but they did not pan out because of lack of production, injuries or off-the-field issues.

But when those three left, the Bulldogs decided to go with two backs from North Carolina that were the best at the position.

Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 25 touchdowns. Because of what they have done last season and what they are capable of this year and in 2014, the tandem could be the best one-two punch in UGA history.

But because of the lack of depth at the position, head coach Mark Richt decided to keep adding on to the talent.

In February, the Bulldogs signed A.J. Turman from Orlando, Florida. He is listed as the 19th best running back by Rivals and the 13th best running back by 247 Sports.

The Bulldogs also signed J.J. Green, who took part in this year’s spring practice. Green was recruited as a cornerback, but will see action at running back this year because he impressed many at during spring practice.

Then, add Chubb and Michel, and that makes the position very crowded. But because of the physicality of the position, having too many running backs is a good problem to have.

Also, there is no telling what can happen between now and signing day. Both Chubb and Michel could decommit and sign somewhere else. But then again, the Bulldogs could snag another top running back recruit to replace the two if something like that does happen.

The Bulldogs may not be at the level where Alabama is in terms of their collection of running backs, but because of its recent success, many of the top running back recruits are looking at Georgia as a destination spot.

That is also the reason why “Tailback U” is back in session between the hedges.