Will Caleb King Ever Live Up to the Hype?
Caleb King, the heir-apparent to the starting running back job for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2009, is injured. It is due to that injury, that he is now in jeopardy of losing his position to Richard Samuel.
Has the time come yet when the Dawg Nation can safely say that King may never be what we thought he would be when he signed on the dotted line in 2007?
Is he, for lack of a better word, a recruiting bust?
Say what you will about his two-year stint behind Knowshon Moreno; The fact is, if he were as good as he thinks he is, we would be talking about Knowshon right now, not Caleb—Caleb would be the one preparing for the NFL preseason.
Truth is, King has made some mistakes along the way and those miscues have impeded his progress.
It's possible that he may never live down the gaffe against the Gators last season where he missed a block that left Matthew Stafford open for a big hit.
His pass protection ability has cost him quite a bit of playing time already.
Add to that his lackluster performance in the G-Day game, where he left more questions than answers, and you have many questioning whether he will ever be a no. 1 tailback.
King simply hasn't impressed anyone with his play. He was a dominant back at Greater Atlanta Christian, but that dominance seems to have been humbled mightily by his arrival in the SEC.
So far, in limited play, he hasn't shown the vision, the elusiveness, or the playmaking ability that he exuded at Parkview High School in Gwinnett County, GA during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Making matters worse, Both Samuel and Thomas have shown that they have just as much talent, if not more, than King—making King's handle on the starting job dubious at best.
It may seem a bit premature to throw the towel in on the kid just yet given the fact that he has been injured and has not been given the greatest opportunities to showcase his talents, but when you are at a university where the running back corps is this deep, you can't allow yourself to get complacent.
Has King worked hard? Absolutely. Does he want the job? Definitely. Do either of those things matter? No.
Why? Because Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas, Washaun Ealey, and Dontavius Jackson want the job too—they didn't come here to redshirt. They came here to play.
King has got to start separating himself from the pack; he needs to get in the training room and prepare himself for battle. These nagging injuries are killing his momentum dearly.
He may think it's enough that he's paid his dues and bided his time, but Coach Richt has learned that where talent is concerned, it doesn't matter how long a guy has been here.
“We’ve taken a new attitude. Every freshman, in my opinion, will play next year. Obviously, that won’t happen, but we’re taking that approach. It used to be more, ‘We’d like to save this guy.’ I’ve learned my lesson, and that’s over. Everybody’s playing. We’re going to let you go play and we’ll worry about your fourth year down the road. If it’s in the best interest of the young player, we’ll hold him and redshirt him, but we’re going to play him.”-Coach Mark Richt
Caleb can thank Knowshon for that epiphany.
Some are even beginning to compare King to the likes of Jasper Sanks.
Sanks, the highly touted, fiercely recruited, running back who played at Georgia but saw his college career tank due to off the field idiocy and nagging injuries.
He too had his chances to become one of the best backs ever, but blew it and now is nothing more than a cautionary tale.
King is nothing like Sanks, in my opinion, but the two will likely be spoken of in the same breath if King doesn't begin to live up to some of the hype he rode in on back in 2007.
The time appears to be now as the gap between King and Samuel has closed and others are nipping at his heels.
2009 promises to be the year of the running back for Georgia as they are almost certain to have a committee; King better start to man up a bit more or he could find himself on the outside looking in yet again.
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