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With the addition of ESPN 300 running back A.J. Turman (Orlando, Fla./Boone), Georgia has filled a basic need for the 2013 class with one of the most productive running backs in the Southeast, continuing the success the Bulldogs have had in recent years recruiting the position.
Once Turman arrives in Athens next year, he will compete with Ken Malcome for the third running back spot. In 2011, Georgia was forced to start a former walk-on in Brandon Harton and back him up with another in Kyle Karempelis because they were without four other scholarship running backs. That game provided a stark reminder of just how easily depth can diminish, especially at running back, making it imperative that the Bulldogs avoid that type of situation in the future.
|A.J. Turman is the No. 24 running back and the No. 261 player overall in the ESPN 300.|
Although true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have emerged as one of the top tailback tandems in the Southeastern Conference, Turman had only positive things to say after watching the two play against Ole Miss.
"It’s a great pro-style, power-run offense and the running backs have to run and catch, and stay in and block," Turman said. "So it’s the perfect mix for any running back that wants to be a complete player."
Georgia beat out programs such as Auburn, Tennessee and Miami for Turman. He's a strong addition to a recruiting class that is already ranked No. 10 in the country by ESPN. Turman is a four-star running back with a productive pedigree, especially between the tackles, with 4,867 career rushing yards and 55 rushing touchdowns.
Even with Turman's commitment, do not expect Georgia to stop recruiting its top running back target, ESPN 150 prospect Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). Last Wednesday, Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon gave Kamara a heads-up that they still hope to sign him even if another tailback commits before Kamara is ready. With Kamara’s versatility and ability to catch the ball, he could still contribute early out of the slot and competing for carries out of the backfield.
While Turman's commitment is somewhat out of the blue, Georgia needed to secure a talented running back in this class. The Bulldogs wanted to avoid being left empty-handed in January, which occurred last recruiting cycle at middle linebacker and safety. Now they have a chance to bring in another outstanding backfield duo for the second consecutive year.
Programs such as Alabama and Oregon are also strong contenders for Kamara, who has set no timeline for a decision. The chance to stay home, the allure of playing alongside several close friends and the relationship that's developed between Kamara and his mother with the Georgia staff could put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat for the No. 5 prospect in Georgia.