As UGASports.com continues its look ahead to spring practice, set to begin on March 18, we take a look at the running backs where the Bulldogs have arguably the best depth in the SEC, and perhaps the entire country.
Think about it.
The quality and depth at running back is so good that it appears Bulldog coaches will work out second-leading rusher J.J. Green at cornerback back this spring.
For purposes of continuity, we will also include the fullbacks in this breakdown.
Returning Starters - 2 (Todd Gurley, Merritt Hall)
Returning Lettermen - 7 (Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, *J.J. Green, Brendan Douglas, Kyle Karempelis, Quayvon Hicks, Merritt Hall)
Redshirts - 1 (A.J. Turman)
Incoming Freshmen - 2 (Sony Michel, Nick Chubb)
Players Lost - 1 (Brandon Harton)
• Todd Gurley (Jr., 6-1, 232): Gurley was hampered all year by the high-ankle sprain the suffered against LSU but still managed to rush for 989 yards and score 10 touchdowns for the Bulldogs. But that wasn't all. He also finished as the team's third-leading receiver with 37 receptions for 441 yards and six touchdowns. If healthy, the rising junior could contend for some major post-season awards.
• Keith Marshall (Jr., 5-11, 219): Marshall is expected to get in some running but he won't be cleared for contact until later this summer. However, from all indications, his recovery from the ACL he tore against Tennessee is right on track and should be ready to for the start of preseason drills.
• *J.J. Green (Soph., 5-9, 192): As we mentioned earlier, Green is expected to see time at cornerback this spring but for the purposes of this breakdown will be listed here as well. And why not? Last year the former Camden County star filled in admirably for Gurley and finished as the team's second-leading rusher with 381 yards and three touchdowns.
• Brendan Douglas (Soph., 5-11, 222) For a player who many considered an afterthought when he first signed, the former Aquinas standout more than proved his worth, rushing 84 times for 345 yards and tying Green with three touchdowns. Although Douglas had a few issues with turnovers, his hard-nosed running style won over teammates and fans alike.
• Kyle Karempelis (Sr., 5-9, 180): A walk-on, Karempelis won't see any time in the backfield for Georgia once the season begins, but is a valued special teams performer and played in all 13 games in that capacity.
• A.J. Turman (RsFr., 6-0, 205): Turman redshirted last year, due largely to a plethora of injuries that he suffered in spring camp and was not able to fully shake until late in the year. When he practiced, he apparently impressed enough for Gurley to call him a "beast" during a December interview. Look for Turman to get plenty of looks this spring to see exactly what he can do.
• Quayvon Hicks (Jr., 6-2, 257): Hicks had his moments early last year but was never quite the same after a kickoff collision with Jermaine Copeland of LSU and wasn't quite the same. Although he played in all 13 games, Hicks' blocking left a lot to be desired and resulted in Hall taking over the starting role. He will have an opportunity to regain the starting spot with a strong spring.
• Merritt Hall (Jr., 5-11, 234): Hall only touched the football twice last year (one rush and one reception) but played in all 13 games, starting six. Will battle Hicks for the starting job this spring.
• Nick Chubb (5-10, 215): The former Cedartown standout put up some amazing numbers the past two years, including a senior-season that saw him rush for 2,690 yards and 41 touchdowns. As a junior, he ran for 2,721 yards and 38 scores. Although there is obviously some talent ahead of him, Chubb will be groomed to play right away once he arrives on campus in early June.
• Sony Michel (5-11, 205): A five-star performer, Michel rushed for 1,833 yards and scored 24 touchdowns against some of the toughest competition in the talent-rich state of Florida. Like Chubb, Michel will be groomed to play right away when he gets to Athens.
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