Which running backs will suit up for Georgia in the Sugar Bowl? Kirby Smart says that is “TBD…”

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Which running backs will suit up for Georgia in the Sugar Bowl? Kirby Smart says that is “TBD…”

UGA running back D'Andre Swift (7), Georgia vs. Texas A&M, Saturday, November 23, 2019
UGA running back D’Andre Swift (7), Georgia vs. Texas A&M, Saturday, November 23, 2019

With the January 1, 2020 Sugar Bowl approaching as the Bulldogs start practicing and preparing for Baylor, one of several questions being asked is will junior running back D’Andre Swift play? Another is what about sophomore tailback James Cook?

Swift is eligible to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, forego the rest of his collegiate eligibility, and to follow teammates Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson to seek fame and fortune in the pros. As is understandable, the rumor mill has been in overdrive on social media, fan message boards, and everywhere in between since the SEC Championship Game as to what Swift will decide to. So much so, that it prompted the junior to issue a statement via his Twitter account earlier in the week on Monday.

UGA running back James Cook (4), 2019 SEC Championship Game, Saturday, December 7
UGA running back James Cook (4), 2019 SEC Championship Game, Saturday, December 7

And what about James Cook? The sophomore got into some minor trouble this past weekend. Cook was stopped and then arrested by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department on two minor misdemeanors on Saturday, December 14th at approximately 12:44 a.m. in the morning on East Clayton Street in downtown Athens, GA. He was cited for “Possession of open container of alcoholic beverage in passenger area” and “driving without a valid license.”

On Wednesday, when asked about how the discipline and punishment for Cook would be handled in regards to his arrest, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said, “it will start with the internal discipline we have” and did not give any further details.

Kirby was asked about which of UGA’s running backs would be able to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl, and he said that was still to be determined.

“All that is still to be determined. All those guys healthy right now,”
said Kirby. “Swift is recovering from his injury, but he’s out there practicing, and he’s doing everything we ask.” 

If Swift decides to sit for the bowl game and prepare for the NFL or if he is not healthy enough to play and if Cook has to serve any suspension for his brush with the law, who does that leave for the Dawgs to lean on?

UGA running back Brian Herrien (35), Georgia vs. Auburn, Saturday, November 16, 2019
UGA running back Brian Herrien (35), Georgia vs. Auburn, Saturday, November 16, 2019

Senior Brian Herrien, who is second on the team behind Swift in carries and rushing yards on the season with 490 yards and 6 touchdowns on 103 carries would be the next man up, but UGASports reported earlier this week that Herrien wasn’t practicing will not play in the Sugar Bowl.

“On Tuesday, UGASports reported that running back Brian Herrien has not been at practice and will not play in the Sugar Bowl for undisclosed reasons.”

UGASports.com

After Herrien, there is redshirt freshman Zamir White who has played in 12 of Georgia’s 13 games this year so far, rushing 60 times for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. True freshman Kenny McIntosh has seen limited in action in 10 games with 19 carries for 148 yards and a couple of scores, most of which was against Murray State and Arkansas State early in the season.

And there is also Sevaughn Clark, a 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs freshman walk-on from Dawson County, who has very limited playing time in two games with 6 carries for 19 yards.

What about Prather Hudson?

Hudson graduated on Friday 13th and announced beforehand that he had made the decision to transfer from Georgia for his final year of eligibility, entering the NCAA Transfer Portal.

So, that leaves another question as we are at t-minus 13 days and counting till the Sugar Bowl matchup with Baylor… If Cook, Herrien, and Swift do not end up playing in the Sugar Bowl, can Georgia get the job down on the ground with Clark, McIntosh, and White?

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The University of Georgia 1991-1994. Lanier Tech 2009-2012. Writer and graphic artist covering UGA athletics, college football, and recruiting. Peach cobbler fears me!