Friday, April 26, 2013
Michel fuels momentum of UGA's class
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- The news of Sony Michel’s commitment to Georgia will not only soothe the Bulldogs coaching staff's depth chart fears, it will also serve as a salve to ease some hurt feelings among Bulldogs fans.
Sony Michel will provide depth and explosiveness when he arrives at Georgia.
First and foremost, Michel is the nation’s No. 2 running back prospect and should arrive on campus when the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall start their junior years and what could be their final season on campus. A year or two of their tutelage will prove helpful for Michel, who will face less pressure to come in and take over a job. In return, Michel will help spread the load at tailback.
This spring the Bulldogs had to rely on converted wide receiver J.J. Green and a platoon of walk-ons to replace an injured Marshall and Brandon Harton.
Georgia does have two tailbacks arriving in June. A.J. Turman looks to be a workhorse and Brendan Douglas can also play fullback. Both will be instrumental in bolstering the Bulldogs’ shallow depth chart, but Georgia needs a premier back now and for the future.
Which brings us to the hurt feelings. The Georgia coaches thought they had their future at running back wrapped up when Derrick Henry committed at Dawg Night in July 2011. But the following summer he decommitted and eventually signed with Alabama.
Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon had already seen in-state target Tyren Jones commit to the Tide as well, so he focused his attention on the Peach State’s other top tailback, Alvin Kamara. The Norcross (Ga.) High School standout also chose Alabama over Georgia, giving the Crimson Tide three of the top 10 running backs in the nation. That also broke Georgia’s six-year streak of signing a top-10 running back. After a hard-fought SEC championship game between the two teams, misses on the recruiting trail hurt all the more.
Now, with Michel’s commitment, Georgia has its third major recruiting win in April. Coming into the month, the Bulldogs had only two commitments: safety Nick Glass (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) and wide receiver Krenwick Sanders (Jesup, Ga./Wayne Co.). On April Fool’s Day, coveted defensive tackle Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) was not joking when he picked the Bulldogs. This week, No. 3 tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) announced that he too would play for Georgia. While Blazevich was a high-profile pickup, Michel's profile is still more considerable.
Last year, Georgia’s highest-ranked signee was Shaq Wiggins, the No. 39 player in the ESPN 150. Michel is ranked No. 16 among the nation's best prospects. The Bulldogs did not have a commit from among the ESPN 150 on Monday. Four days later they have two. Both of those have come from outside the state, which shows that Georgia is less concerned about where a player is from and more focused on what a prospect can provide.
This is the type of momentum that Georgia coach Mark Richt and his staff need going into summer.