Georgia fans were disappointed last February when two of the state’s top running backs wound up signing with Alabama, a team that seemed loaded at tailback. To add insult to injury, the Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs in a heartbreaking fashion in the SEC championship game, making losses on the recruiting trail that much harder to swallow.
But not this year.
The Peach State’s top running back last year in rushing yards was actually a junior. Nick Chubb of Cedartown (Ga.) High School had over 2,700 yards and scored 38 touchdowns for his squad in 10 games. Now as he prepares for his senior season, the four-star tailback has decided to commit to the in-state Georgia Bulldogs.
“Georgia is a place I feel comfortable, where I feel like I want to raise my family and live the rest of my life,” Chubb said. “So going to the university will help me out with that.”
Chubb’s commitment won’t singlehandedly offset the loss of Alvin Kamara and Tyren Jones to the Tide last year, but it helps. Credit the Bulldogs' coaching staff for being relentless.
“They talk to me almost every night there on twitter or they tell me to call them,” the four-star prospect said. “They recruited me probably the best. If they use the same thing with me that they use with everybody then I’m sure they’ll get [other recruits], because they are real smooth.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo apparently knew where Chubb was going before he announced his decision Tuesday night. But Chubb didn’t tell Bobo directly.
“I called Bobo, maybe last week,” Chubb said. “I didn’t say I was coming, I just talked to him and I said I liked Georgia a lot. I put it that way and he’s a clever guy. I never even told. He said he was smiling. He got me on twitter said he’s still smiling.”
Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon have a lot to smile about. Chubb will join fellow tailback commit and ESPN 150 member Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) in the backfield in 2014. Both will back up another talented duo in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Chubb is not worried about the competition.
“That’s a challenge I’m willing to take and the competition is to keep the game better,” Chubb said. “I’m going to outwork them, I know I am. You can’t hide from the competition. Sooner or later it’s going to catch up with you. You’ve got to face it.”
There were other depth charts that were more appealing but Chubb’s plans to live in Georgia after his is over made Athens his choice. He did look around though. The 5-foot-11, 216-pound rising senior picked the Bulldogs over Auburn and South Carolina.
“South Carolina always said I’m the next [Marcus] Lattimore,” Chubb said. “I enjoyed that. That was nice hype, but I didn’t get on there at all. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel it. I liked Auburn probably a little more than South Carolina just because I felt the love when they talked to me, things like that, but I just got to stay home.”
Comparisons to great backs are nothing new for Chubb. He often hears about Gurley and Marshall and the Georgia coaches tell him that he “is a downhill runner.”
“That kind of is just me,” Chubb said. “Playing against eight in a box you’ve got to get down or they’re going to jump on your back or trip you up or something. So my mind is trained to get downhill. Bobo always called me Todd Gurley. That’s good, but I always wanted to be Nick Chubb too.”
Unlike Gurley and Marshall who were friends long before they came to Georgia, Chubb said he has never spoken to Michel. He is a quiet guy who prefers to let his play speak for him. But with his commitment, Chubb knows he is going to have to get out of his comfort zone.
“It is just starting to hit me,” Chubb said. “I don’t really talk to people, but if I want to get the best athletes at Georgia to stay home, I’m going to have to. I plan to, I think I need to. I think it’ll help out, because I know when people recruit me I feel good about it, so hopefully I can do the same thing for other people.”