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ESPN Watch List RB Michel: UGA unique

9/30/2012

In the past three weekends, Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) has taken in a college game. Two weeks ago the 2014 running back watched Miami play. Last week he was at Florida State to watch the Seminoles take on ACC rival Clemson. On Saturday, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior was in Athens to watch the Georgia Bulldogs battle the Tennessee Vols.

“Georgia was different than anything I had experienced before,” Michel said. “I have seen games at FSU and Miami, but at Georgia their fans were there nonstop hours before the game until hours after the game. Georgia fans are crazy. It was amazing, really, and it might not be a major factor in my decision but it is still great to know the players have that kind of support.”

Michel was able to spend time with entire staff, but mainly interacted with coach Mark Richt and running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

“Coach Richt spent time telling me about what UGA has to offer besides football,” Michel said. “He said that I am more than just an athlete and how it is important to set up for your life after football, and he explained to me what I would get out of going to UGA. I could really tell that he cared about me and that the coaches there want you to succeed in life.”

In Saturday night's game at Sanford Stadium, true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for more than 100 yards for the second time this season. Before the game, Michel was shown how Georgia is able to showcase more than one feature back in its offense.

“I met with Coach McClendon before the game and I can really relate well to him because he has been through all of this recently himself,” he said. “He showed me his routine and how he prepares his running backs for each game and how he utilizes each one. I really like how he gave both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall a chance to showcase their talent. He told me the best backs will play.”

Marshall and Gurley will be juniors by the time Michel enrolls in college, but there could also be running backs from the 2013 class on campus as well. Michel thinks that could be a good thing.

“I do look at how many running backs each school has, but you actually want a couple of backs there so you do not have to carry the load yourself and take a pounding,” Michel said.

With two trips to Athens under his belt, Michel had good things to say about Georgia overall.

“Georgia is a great program, and being in the SEC, that is the closest thing you can get to the NFL,” Michel said. “The staff at Georgia is down to earth, but they are also very energetic when they need to be. They are like a family there and they are the type of coaches you just want to be around.”

With more than a year until anyone in his class can get to college, do not expect a decision anytime soon from the standout junior. However, the Bulldogs are in as good as shape as anyone for Michel at the moment.

“Georgia is up there for me right now,” he said. “They are going to be in my top five when I come out with it by next summer. Miami and Florida State will also be in there, but I have to figure out who the other two will be.”

As a freshman, Michel made an immediate impression with 228 carries for 1730 yards and 21 touchdowns, and entered last fall in the discussion for top running back in the state of Florida before a preseason ACL injury cost him his sophomore season. Now healthy, Michel has 41 carries for 508 yards and nine touchdowns through four games.