2018 Georgia Football Fall Preview: Running backs

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2018 Georgia Football Fall Preview: Running backs


D'Andre Swift - 2018 Spring Practice - Day 2 - March 22, 2018
D’Andre Swift – 2018 Spring Practice – Day 2 – March 22, 2018
Georgia or better known as RBU, Running Back U always has a group of talented running backs. The Bulldogs not only have one five-star but three. Despite losing Nick Chubb and Sony Michel last season, and then overcoming injuries during spring and now fall camp. Georgia appears to have reloaded its arsenal. 

Looking Back at 2017:

The Bulldogs had two of the best running backs in school and football history. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel came back for their senior season, and it was a special one. Both players rushed for over 1000 yards on the season and led the team to its first national championship game in 35 years.

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel (Photo by Rob Saye)
Nick Chubb (27) and Sony Michel (1)
(Photo by Rob Saye)

Chubb led the Bulldogs in rushing with 1,345 yards. He did this on just 223 attempts, averaging six yards a carry. Chubb had 15 touchdowns on the season. After his senior season, he became the second all-time rusher at the University of Georgia and the SEC behind Herschel Walker. Chubb was just 490 yards away from Walker. He finished with 4,769 career yards. Michel ran for 1227 yards on 156 carries. He averaged 7.9 yards a carry and scored 16 touchdowns.
However, we cannot forget about the guys behind Michel and Chubb. D’Andre Swift, a true-freshman, proved to the Bulldog nation that Georgia would be in good hands. He ran for 597 yards on 81 carries, averaging 7.6 yards a carry. He scored three touchdowns on the season. The most memorable one was the touchdown to seal Georgia’s victory over Auburn for the first SEC Championship in 12 years. Of course, I cannot forget, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien you came in to finish games and contribute when needed.ss

Expectations for 2018:

Georgia returns just one major contributor to the running back group. Swift should lead the way for the Bulldogs and be the first-string running back. However, after him, the future appears unclear. By the beginning of football season, Georgia should have four healthy running backs, potentially five. It will be interesting to watch this group throughout spring practice since two of them only see minor parts of games.

Elijah Holyfield - 2018 Spring Practice - Day 2 - March 22, 2018
Elijah Holyfield – 2018 Spring Practice – Day 2 – March 22, 2018
Holyfield appears to have bulked up some this offseason while Herrien seems to have gained some weight too. After Zamir White went down with another knee injury, it was up to him and James Cook. Holyfield continues to impress in fall camp and emerge as one of the leaders.  Will he take the responsibilities that come with being the No. 2 back or will someone else step up and take his spot? It’ll be something to watch for the rest of fall camp.
Despite having two veteran backs ahead of them, I think Cook could make an impact early. Since he stepped on campus, he’s impressed coaches. Cook’s gained some weight in the short time at Georgia. He’s often compared to Michel. Before White tore his ACL this fall, he was emerging as someone who would get significant time on the field. Now, he’s out for the season and looks to continue rehabbing his knees, so that he can be healthy for next season.

RBU stays RBU in 2018:

James Cook (6)
James Cook (6)
A lot of speculation still surround Georgia’s running backs after 17 days of fall camp. However, despite a lot of people thinking Georgia’s running game will be lackluster this season I have to disagree with them.
Georgia’s running game isn’t going anywhere this year. Swift begins his reign as top-dog now, and it appears he fits the role naturally. He could potentially be in the Heisman race and go for over 1000 yards. If he consistently performs in 2018 and the Bulldogs find someone who compliments him, then Georgia should return to Atlanta come December. However, I expect all four running backs to get playing time this season and be successful.

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Savannah Leigh is a recent graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is an avid SEC, Dawgs, and college football fan. She also adores her four-year-old black lab, Champ Bailey.