UGA football head coach Mark Richt has an enviable problem. He’s got two of the nation’s best running backs on his team, a few more that would start on just about any other team, and two of the nation’s top running back prospects joining the team.
Glass half full – that’s an awful lot of talented backs, and tremendous depth. Glass half empty – what the heck can Richt do with all these running backs, because that can’t all be on the roster, can they?
Now taking injury out of the equation for now, we can assume that Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are in. Brendan Douglas has been a huge asset off the bench, and A.J. Turman had the best Spring of any back on the roster. Kyle Karempelis and Kyle Vagher are the two who will probably be fighting for positions.
Richt will probably want to carry six tailbacks on the roster. Karempelis is a senior, Vagher a junior, and then you have the two true freshmen Sony Michel and Nick Chubb entering the picture.
Here’s where it gets murky.
It would be feasible to redshirt both Michel and Chubb and go with the existing talent pool. But if either Gurley or Marshall were to become injured, then that would thin out considerably.
It might make more sense to pick one of the two new backs to redshirt, and bring one onto the roster as a true freshmen, but back further on the depth chart until they get used to the speed and ferocity of SEC play. But which one would it be?
Without having seen either of them on the field with the Bulldogs yet, we’ll risk hazarding a guess and speculate based on what we know and have seen in films. That said, anything can change once a player gets into the heat of battle.
Here’s a comparison of the two incoming freshman backs.
2014 Georgia Freshman Running Backs
247 Sports Rating
247 Sports Rankings
HS Senior GP/Rushes/Yds
HS Senior TDs
|Nick Chubb||5'11/216||5-star||3rd-state, 6th-position, 33rd-nation||11/276/2690||41|
|Sony Michel||5'11/205||5-star||3rd-state, 3rd-postiion, 19th-nation||15/214/1840||24|
In a quick look, it actually looks like Chubb should have been the higher rated back, however Michel did much more receiving out of the backfield than Chubb, and also played DB at times as well. Both backs have speed to burn, running the 40 in 4.5 seconds or under, but Chubb may possess a little more strength than does Michel.
Michel is an elusive cut-back, with quick feet and a great burst. This might prove to be what sets him apart and earns him a spot on the roster as a freshman.
Both Gurley and Marshall are strong, powerful runners, who can both put on the afterburners once getting to the second level of the defense. Having a back with similar speed that can make those ankle-breaking cuts to come in as a change of pace would really turn defenses on their own ears.
When fall practices begin, and we see Michel and Chubb performing with the team, a clearer picture will begin to emerge. But given what we know now, we’ll call it as a redshirt for Chubb and a roster spot for Michel.
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