Nobody is talking about Georgia’s running back needs and Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are probably to blame for that. I suppose when two true freshmen walk in and account for 2352 yards of offense and 27 total touchdowns, the need for a “running back of the future” is diminished ever so slightly.
That concerns me. I love Gurshall as much as the next guy, but fans need to be aware that boasting a two-man backfield as potent as what Georgia demonstrated in 2012 has its downsides – particularly in recruiting. And, to be short: Georgia needs a running back or two. Aside from the obvious “one injury away” need for depth, consider the pattern of the past few seasons regarding Georgia’s need for running backs.
The chart below portrays Georgia’s “in-house” running back needs (it does not take into account committed recruits) since 2011. As you can see, surprises have consistently racked the Dawgs in the backfield, and even this month Boo Malcome’s departure as created a dire need for the Bulldogs.
How much did Boo’s departure hurt? If Georgia were to need a third back, either strategically or because of injury, the most experienced returning back would be Brandon Harton who accounted for 20 yards rushing (only -2 yards in SEC play) in 2012. Consider that Richard Samuel and Harton combined to get 26 carries in 2012 (about two per game) and all of a sudden the Bulldogs are in desperate need of someone who can give two effort-filled runs per game. And, for once Georgia can’t necessarily sell the immediate spotlight to recruits (as that’s going to be on Marshall and Gurley).
Who is coming?
A.J. Turman, a four-star recruit from Orlando committed to the Bulldogs back in November. He measures 6’0” and 205 pounds and is considered the nation’s 19th best RB prospect and the nation’s 235th best overall player.
The lone knock I can find on the guy is that a few elite recruiting factories (Florida, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Clemson, South Carolina) did not offer him a scholarship – or at least they have not as of yet. Now, recruiting is a funny game. So he may have spurned interest from those schools or those institutions may be playing for a late/surprise offer to force an emotional decision. Or, those schools may have non-binding agreement with other RB recruits who want to be “the man.”
But in general, seeing a player’s offer sheet is a selling point for me. If Alabama, Florida and LSU want a guy then I want Georgia to get him.
Who Georgia Needs?
Even with Turman in the fold (which he isn’t officially yet), Georgia needs another running back. History has shown that Georgia puts out some amazing running backs (Danny Ware, Kregg Lumpkin, Knowshon Moreno, Caleb King, Thomas Brown have all gotten NFL shots over the last few years). But, Georgia also misses on some talents (Crowell, Ealy, Samuel, Malcome). If Georgia’s backfield is going to continue to be a numbers game, the Dawgs need bigger numbers. I think we know what we’re getting from Gurley and Marshall: high production on the field and good character off of it. But, recent history implies that for every success story we see there is at least one story of struggle and/or failure.
So where does Georgia turn? The most obvious choice is Alvin Kamara, a four-star all-purpose back who is considered the nation’s 45th best player. Kamara spent the past weekend in Athens and it was his last official visit. By all accounts, Georgia pulled out all of the stops for Alvin, but his time with Gurshall (they seemed to take him under their collectively dominant wings this weekend) may prove the most valuable recruiting tool as they undoubtedly told the true story of instant impact in Athens.
Kamara is believed to be down to Georgia and Alabama.
If Kamara doesn’t work out (or frankly, even if he does) Georgia seems to be exploring Jonathan Ford out of New Hope, AL as an alternative.addition. Ford is a four-star recruit who committed to Vanderbilt on January 18th, but I’m sure the Georgia coaching staff has no problem reminding him of the outcome of last year’s Georgia/Vandy game.
That’s all I got/