Posted: 7:01 pm Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Will UGA be able to sign top running back in this year’s class? Hmmm 

By Michael Carvell

How big of a challenge will it be for UGA to recruit a top running back for this year’s class?

On the surface, it looks like brutal task due to UGA’s ridiculous depth of the position.

Will Mark Richt find a star RB for 2015? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Will Mark Richt find a star RB for 2015? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

It has less to do with Keith Marshall and Heisman candidate Todd Gurley — who will both likely exit for the NFL after this season. UGA’s ability to recruit at the position is more impacted by the presence of incoming freshmen 5-stars Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

But Mark Richt doesn’t seem to think it will be a problem to land another big fish at running back. Or at least he’s not admitting it publicly.

“No I don’t think (it will be a problem),” Richt said recently. “What are the chances of Gurley staying around a long time? You know, (and) Keith Marshall for that matter? You know, if you only have three running backs on campus, and you take two out of there … That’s not enough. The kids know that.”

“You probably didn’t think you’d get a Nick Chubb and Sony Michel this past year. I don’t think anybody wants to be the one guy.

“Around 20 years ago, it was ‘I want to be the guy. I want 20 or 30 carries per game. I want to be the man. Now it’s like I want to be one of the men’ because they understand, and the NFL Draft has proven that. Backs don’t have a long life. Teams don’t have just one guy. They need to get two or three that help carry the load.”

People outside of the UGA football offices aren’t as confident as Richt about the Bulldogs’ chances at a high-profile running back for 2015. It ‘s not an impossible assignment, but it’s not an easy one either.

Oregon-bound Taj Griffin (AJC)

Oregon-bound Taj Griffin (AJC)

UGA has offered scholarships to eight running backs for 2015, according to 247sports.com. Six of the eight have already committed to other schools, including McEachern’s Taj Griffin (Oregon), Sandy Creek’s Eric Swinney (Ole Miss) and former Norcross standout Alvin Kamara (Tennessee).

“Even if you’re not a Georgia fan, you’re aware of the depth and the quality of depth that they’re going to have at Georgia at running back,” said 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell. “Going into the season, it all looks good for Georgia on paper. It could be even better as the season plays out once you see the young guys and how they adapt to college. But there’s no question that other schools are using that against UGA, and that’s just the nature of recruiting.”

Alvin Kamara (AJC)

Alvin Kamara (AJC)

Will UGA even sign a running back for 2015? That’s another scenario that has been tossed around on message boards, although conventional wisdom says the Bulldogs sign at least one, if only for depth purposes.

“I would expect Georgia to try to recruit with the mindset to take one in this class,” Mansell said. “I don’t think it would be life or death if they didn’t sign one. But I fully expect them to recruit for that position.

“Now if they don’t find who they like or want, they could certainly skip a year. And it wouldn’t be the end of the world, for sure.”

What do you think? Please post below.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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144 comments
Rick_James
Rick_James

@GTBob 

"GT has a RB on our team that is faster than Marshall. He isn't getting drafted. Some thought Wilder should have played another position but other heralded him as well. He averaged 7 yards a carry last year for the best team in the country and nobody really even cared. Some one might take a chance on Marshall, but it would be a risk. If he wants to get drafted then he should play every special teams play he can this year otherwise, he should probably stay another year and hope he gets more playing time to prove himself."

Bob I think Keith Marshall will stand a much better chance of being drafted than Roddy Jones who had NFL caliber talent but for some reason no team would give him a shot..Maybe he should have played on special teams huh? Or just not played for Paul Johnson.

Gopher86
Gopher86

UGA doesnt need a back for '15 and have already offered the kid right up the road at Clarke Central for 2016. He's 5"11 200 with slashing ability like Travis Henry out of Tenn. Our main concern in '15 and '16 is to rebuild the OL and DL. We have what perhaps will be the #1 WR in thr nation in '16 coming (if UGA goes ahead and offers) and we going to need Parks ready. The key is simple. WIN and they will come!

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

I doubt UGA could sign a 5*  but I think they can pick up a good enough RB to make a difference. If Gurley and Marshall both finish big this year, they will move on as under classmen, and even though it appears that UGA has their replacements already, if the RB's are used properly in this years campaign, young kids will realize and see how they could fit into the program.

dawgs01
dawgs01

back to ga tech laskey is a great linear runner one of the fastest white kids I have worked with and I am white so don't get panties in a bunch people. I know people are sensitive nowadays. Ran a legit 4.47 which is blazing so many kids say they run this or that look anything under 4.6 is flying I would say 90th something percentile anything in the 4.4 is elite anything under 4.4 is amazing to see in person Eric berry is the only ga athlete I have gotten to see in person with that speed and I saw Brandon Boykin in high school who was an absolute amazing athlete for Fayetteville he actually ran thru our speed wall in the tenth grade the foam protector and the sheet rock. That flying. Laskey was a great backer in high school at stars mill got moved to running back due to injury and his speed they saw on the track team. he has put on a lot more size now so I don't now his exact speed anymore. I still think he might be as good as any of your starting backers or put it this way their would not be much drop off. He led stars mill to state as a rb. Trent is yalls diamond in the ruff this yr I promise you that he is unknown due to what he is asked to do for his high school team which is hold up linemn to free up sandy creeks talented lbs. he has had an excellent camp circuit but has shut that down since committing to y'all. He is a great kid who is not done growing his dad who played at auburn under y'all's d coord is an absolute beast of a man. I got way off topic and rambled but I have been away for a while traveling the south. Lookout for jaden a rising sophomore who recorded double digit sacks as a freshmen in 4a dad and mom both played at Uga but his brother Tyler who plays safety for fsu was turned down by Uga but Pruitt said Tyler is the best safety he has ever worked with. Jaden has received offers from Indiana and Louisville and the Florida d line coach loved him last wk saying the only other kids he has seen that good that early all played on Sundays this is the same coach who coached clowney at South Carolina. Uga camp is coming up I am so anxious to see what happens. Ask Dallas warmack or Trent how good this young man is. Carvel there will be a buzz about this kid at the camp and i expect them to place him with the older kids even though he is a young one.

WDE
WDE

Just like "It takes money to make money" it takes skill players to get skill players...just ask Bama . Players want to go where there are other good players even if they have to compete against them.

dawgs01
dawgs01

James wilder never proved himself to be a receiving threat on top on the flexibility issues either and a lot of his yardage and ypc were achieved in absolute blowouts and for a big man he did not have impressive yac stats either. Scouts look at every little detail. Marshal yes has knee issues and probably will be the reason he is a late draft pick but I know without a doubt nfl scouts think more of his rb ability than they do with wilder who is a great looking athlete and a fine athlete at that but was definitely out of position and even playing backer he would have had to be a middle backer for run support bc due to his flexibility questions at rb I would question his hips for being a coverage backer. A backer than can play run and drop into coverage is very valuable. Marshal has exceptional hands can catch in traffick and that was gonna be his role last yr but gurley going down early altered all that. I am not comparing marshal to Reggie bush but that is the type of back marshal is. He is not a banger but on the edge is very scary and can turn any swing pass into six and can run decent routes for a back and can catch in traffick. Now look Reggie bush was a great college back so I am not saying marshal is bush but bush has not been a world beater in the pros but has proved to be a nice piece to the puzzle and marshal can definitely do what bush has done in the nfl. Marshall also has more elite speed than bush and is bigger than bush was at this age. Not sure of bush measurements now but in college he was light in the britches marshal has great ht wt ratio for prototypical rb. Catching out of the backfield seems easy but those swing passes are tough for absolute and rb and if you got a back than can catch that and make that first guy miss look out and marshal can do that. That catch marshal made against Nebraska in the end zone was a excellent catch for a receiver let alone a back. He had to reposition his body then catch in traffic stay in bounds and housed it. All I am saying is Marshall is a better prospect all day long even coming off injury than wilder was and if he proves to be back on his game which is yet to be seen then I know he will get drafted. The hardest part about acl injury is not the physical which is brutal it's the mental aspect trusting your cuts which something an elite athletes never questions until a serious lower limb injury

dawgs01
dawgs01

Are u talking about godhigh the very talented small back and I know marshal has great straight line speed but he has great lateral quickness which is what serparates a lot of backs. Marshal and gurley both have great hands too improving both of their stocks. take Moreno his straight line speed was below average for a nfl running back but his lateral step was great and his first ten yards was better than his forty I want a back that can cut with the best and can accelerate in a flash. Same with Ingram, Who had average liner speed and great lateral speed with great acceleration. A rb and most football players never run more than a few yards without having to cut and reaccelerate. Even on kickoff you run and have to avoid a blocker then accelerate then change direction to the opponent. They should do away win forties keep the five ten five and do a ten yard dash which is what most scouts look at anyway they let the media get caught up in top end speed which is rarely used in football. Jerry rice said he never ran a route at full speed bc of all the planting that is done even a fly or 99 involves getting off the line and then bending your run to the sideline which takes you off a linear path. Anytime that foot makes a move outside the frame of the body you have to reaccelerate. What serparates most high school athletes to college guys and college from the nfl is this lateral quickness and the ability to get from zero to one hundred in three yards or really get from zero to faster than most in three yards bc one can't achieve top speed on that window.

dawgs01
dawgs01

Lick their chops not chips

dawgs01
dawgs01

Gtbob how r u comparing James wilder to Keith marshal a kid with Olympic speed and can catch which is the big thing. James wilder was not more heralded than marshal. Most people said James was playing out of position and he was. He should have played linebacker in college and he would have gotten drafted. James is way to tall at six ft three and is not quick laterally does not make people miss and is so tall he can't get low enough to run over people in the NFL. Rbs are five eight to five eleven for a reason with a six footer every now and then. Gurley is a tall back but due to his hurdling background he has great flexibility and great balance. James wilder was way to tight and how many great games did he have a FSU not many. Marshal had a few games that were eye popping. He has more than breakaway speed so he his a guy you draft and you know you got a return man and a back up rb. He will be a late round draft pick but with a yr like his freshmen yr he is at least a fifth rounder maybe Earlier. Don't compare James wilder to Keith marshal. Keith was the number one back in the country a lot of services had James listed as an athlete. He should have listened to his elders and linebacker. In high school James intimidated most kids well in college than does not work and in the NFL that never will work linebackers lick their chips at a tall rb in the league. Blow his legs up all day and his lateral speed is not up to NFL standard for rbs.

96JB
96JB

Once Chubb get a few carriers, gonna be hard to take him out. Beast is correct. He looks like a 5th year NFL running back.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@Rick_James  Ouch.  And I sincerely think GTBob is clueless as to just how fast Marshall is (was).  Go take a look at the 2012 Auburn game.  Marshall had an Auburn DB about 1/2 an arm length behind him when he broke free and he pulled away.  The same guy caught Gurley earlier in the game from behind.  Marshall is unbelievably fast.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@RedandBlackDAWG  The Dawgs won't sign somebody just to sign a RB in 2015.  If a top rung guy wants to play for us then they will make room for him but other than that I think they pass on a RB this cycle.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@dawgs01 


I  D O   N O T    R E M EM B E R    M A R S H A L L  P L A Y I N G     A G A I N S T  

N E B R A S K A!!!!!!!!!


H E    W A S    O U T    F O R     THE   E N T I R E    S E A S O N     A F T E R    H E   G O T
I N J U R E D   W A S    H E     N O T ???????????? 

GTBob
GTBob

@dawgs01 I was talking about Broderick Snoddy. A guy who is currently setting track and field records for GT. He isn't very high on the depth chart though. Speed isn't everything.

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

@dawgs01 I'm not sure what recruiting services you are referring to but James Wilder Jr. was listed as either 1st or 2nd in the nation at running back coming out of highschool. 

Gopher86
Gopher86

Finally a guy who knows football! Dang I love this post!

GTBob
GTBob

@dawgs01 GT has a RB on our team that is faster than Marshall. He isn't getting drafted. Some thought Wilder should have played another position but other heralded him as well. He averaged 7 yards a carry last year for the best team in the country and nobody really even cared. Some one might take a chance on Marshall, but it would be a risk. If he wants to get drafted then he should play every special teams play he can this year otherwise, he should probably stay another year and hope he gets more playing time to prove himself.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@96JB lets wait and see.  There have been too many top prospects that amounted to nothing

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

@TravisBickle5150  Gurley is a head hunter but Marshall gets it done with speed. Imagine 1st and goal with Gurley and Chubb to get those few yards in the game. That is a combination that is going to make some momma cry for their defensive sons on the field.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@TravisBickle5150 I agree 100%. Marshall would not be wise to leave early for the NFL. I know the shelf life of an NFL RB isn't long but he hasn't done enough IMO to be considered drafting even in the 1st 3 rounds. Gurley on the other hand will likely be drafted in the 1st round (with a big year) if he decides to leave after this season. Marshall better stay though.

dawgs01
dawgs01

WE PLAYED THEM TWO YRS IN A ROW ALLCAPS DID WE NOT I WAS AT THE GAME IN ORLANDO THE CAPITOL ONE BOWL

P_The_Ricker
P_The_Ricker

@GTBob @dawgs01 nobody cared b/c the competition was so weak.  #54 ranked schedule in the country. ACC! ACC!  ACC!

3rd string rb! garbage time! 

NCDawg
NCDawg

@TravisBickle5150  Wrong.  Richt palys the guys that allow his offense to be the most productive.  You don't much play if you can't pass protect in his system.  Chubb and Michel will play and whoever gets the pass protection down (so we can run our full offense) and is also producing as a runner will get more snaps.

I do not think either will supplant Gurley but if Marshall isn't up to speed either may end up ahead of him.  Marshall will be given his opportunity.  He just needs to not go down with shoestring tackles 3 out of 4 plays.  If he is tentative then we will see the freshmen a bunch.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@FlatTire @96JB 


I S A I A H      C R O W E LL     C O M E S     T O     M I N D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RedandBlackDAWG
RedandBlackDAWG

@FlatTire @96JB Having watched him in high school, my money is on him being the real deal. He ran through high school kids like they weren't even in the same league his senior year, and almost as much his junior year. He is ready to play college right now. Give him the playbook, ,let him learn where he needs to be and what the play is, and he will get the job done.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@dawgs01 


Dayum!! 


That's twice In a week I got my butt kicked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1,000  apologies dawgs01 and everybody else!!!!!!!!!!!!


It is sad to get old and forgetful but I reckon that is better than the alternative!!!

GTBob
GTBob

@P_The_Ricker Yep, thats why no one in the ACC was drafted this year. Because the conference was so terrible. Its truly a wonder how he had more ypc against Auburn and Florida than he did against Clemson and Boston College.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@Snagglepuss  The difference between Crowell and Chubb is attitude.  Chubb is supremely confident in his ability but he isn't a big mouth and works hard.  Crowell bought his hype.  Chubb is a tougher runner than Crowell as well.  


NCDawg
NCDawg

@RedandBlackDAWG  Chubb is a beast but do not sell Michel short.  He is slick.  He is fast and quick.  Both of these guys run as if no one can tackle them.  They just run though tackles.  I watched their highlights and the thing that struck me was how guys would get their hands on them and they just ignored them.  Chubb is a power guy but Michel appears to be hard to tackle as well.

I am waiting for word from the summer workouts about how these guys are amazing the veterans.  Gurley and Marshall had a big advantage in that Crowell took himself out of the picture and 1 of those guys was going to have to replace him.  They did more than replace him of course.  Once they get pass protection down, these two will push anyone ahead of them.  It's a just a matter of when.

We will see both of them against Clemson.  And I think we will all be pretty happy with what we see.

GTBob
GTBob

@ARdawg He is a backup RB coming off of an injury and the NFL is devaluing RBs more every year. What more do you need?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@GTBob  yards against FL?  They didnt even make it to a bowl game last year

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@NCDawg @Snagglepuss 


I was referring to FlatTire's statement that "There have been too many top prospects that amounted to nothing."  He is correct. At this point I have nothing but hope and admiration for  A L L UGA  RBs!!

NCDawg
NCDawg

@GTBob  He can pass protect and he is a damned good receiver out of the backfield as well.  If he hasn't lost a step, his speed alone would make him intriguing.  A back that is highly useful in the pass game is draftable.  That is what the NFL covets.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@GTBob  didnt Tech lose to a ""Backup"" QB when they played UGA?

ARdawg
ARdawg

@GTBob @ARdawg C'mon Bobby. Your distain for UGA is clouding your judgement, again. Being #2 to arguably best back in the land comes with some pitfalls. Yes he had a season ending injury. A repeat performanced or possibly improved performance over his freshman year will certainly get him NFL looks if he decides to go early. Personally, I think he should wait another year but, that's unlikely. The kid has NFL talent and speed and they will notice

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

Man, I was about to agree with gtbob because at first glance I thought he had said Marshall could get drafted.

Would he right now? Of course not. But if he has a season comparable to his Freshman year, NFL scouts will see he overcame the injury and still has that 4.3 breakaway speed they're drooling over.

Marshall gets 800-900 yds, 6-8 TDs and stays healthy - he's gone

P_The_Ricker
P_The_Ricker

@GTBob @ARdawg whether he's a back-up or not next to no meaning.  he's the back-up to arguably the best rb in cfb.

here's a stat for you.  he's averaging 6.02 yds per carry over 1 1/2 yrs while playing in the toughest conference.

lattimore got drafted while averaging ~5 yds a carry and coming off a devastating 2nd ACL injury.  aside from lattimore, there's definitely a precedent of rbs getting drafted following an acl injury.

considering what's been seen and known......yeah, i'll take that bet with you that he wouldn't get drafted.

GTBob
GTBob

@P_The_Ricker Yeah, that was sarcasm. You must have missed it. All of those ACC players that got drafted must have secretly played in the SEC also or else they never would have been drafted, right? If Clowney had chosen Clemson over South Carolina he would be busting his butt for a free agent deal after going undrafted, right?

GTBob
GTBob

@Phillipdj I would agree, if he has an absolutely monster year he could raise his draft status. I just don't see that happening coming off an injury with Gurley playing in front of him and two new five stars stealing playing time from him. There are plenty of guys with speed. He is going to have to show more than that.

GTBob
GTBob

@P_The_Ricker James Wilder Jr was a more heralded backup playing for a better team without an injury history and similar yards per carry. Where did he get drafted? Also, don't compare Marshall to Lattimore. One was the best running back in cfb before he got injured. The other is a backup who gets about 10 carries a game. Those aren't even comparable situations. 

P_The_Ricker
P_The_Ricker

@GTBob @P_The_Ricker james wilder jr was injury riddled all season and was the 3rd string rb at fsu.  no scout has ever viewed him as a rb at the next level, let alone in college.  he played rb at fsu b/c he was so dead-set at playing rb.  situation where a kid was not considering what was best for him.

wilder jr more heralded?  careful bob, your disdain for all things r&b is showing.

regarding lattimore, i have no problem compariing marshall to him.  marshall has averaged more yards per carry than lattimore.....yes even pre-injury.  marshall also has run behind an arguably inferior offensive line than what lattimore had at sc. 

i'll root every day of the week for lattimore as a person and what he's gone through, but his stats (pre-injury) were nothing great.  they were good, but not great.

GTBob
GTBob

@P_The_Ricker Yes Marshall had more yards per carry, mostly because he doesn't carry the ball much. You may be really impressed by a 6 ypc average on 8-10 carries but im a little more impressed with 5 ypc average on 30-40 carries with the game on the line. Call me crazy. Marshall spends most of his time on the bench. Lattimore was the best player on the field almost every game he played.

P_The_Ricker
P_The_Ricker

@GTBob @P_The_Ricker you're not impressed by a 6 ypc clip against the toughest league in the country??  10 carries isn't a large enough sampling to be impressed by?

it'd be one thing if lattimore was averaging 6 ypc over the 1st 10, then 5 ypc over the next 10 and maybe only 4 ypc the final 10, but that's not the case.  his average was same whether he had 10 carries or 30 carries.

i'm not knocking lattimore.  but, you're knocking a guy who's stats are nothing less than impressive in the most difficult league.  you're trying to sway the arguement to the point that he doesn't carry the ball 30-40 times.  who cares?  his production more than applicably has helped win games and stands out....which is what coaches and GMs want...and gets you drafted.

GTBob
GTBob

@P_The_Ricker I don't care about the toughest league in the country argument. Its hogwash. In Marshall's apparently amazing freshman year he got most of his yards against Vandy, Fla Atlantic, Tennessee, and an awful Auburn team. Against Florida he rushed 4 times for 4 yards. Against Alabama he rushed 2 times for 3 yards. He wasn't rushing for 212 yards against Florida like Lattimore was.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@GTBob  NFL backs don't get 20-30 carries /game any more.  And they must be productive in the pass game as well.  But, yet again, if it's a Georgia guy, you will defend a misinformed opinion to the point of lunacy rather than admit you are wrong.

You do it every time.  And that is just pitiful.