Last week we went over the quarterback depth chart for the Georgia Bulldogs, and today we will be going over the tailback position and some of my predictions for the players.
The guy everyone is watching out for is top running back recruit Isaiah Crowell from Columbus, GA. He was one of the most talked about signings in recent memory and has been considered the most important recruit in the Mark Richt era.
Of course, we will be without our top rusher the past two seasons as Washaun Ealey has transferred to Jacksonville State, so the pressure is up even more on Crowell to be the guy that everyone thinks he can be. Not that our current backs are just going to give him the position.
At one point in his football career, Caleb King was what Crowell is now: the guy that everyone expected to come in and make a big time immediate impact. Unfortunately, some off the field issues have mixed with some injury problems and King has never gotten a huge chance to succeed. While I would argue that he wasn’t the better runningback between him and Ealey the past two years, I have read some people say otherwise.
In my opinion, King is a very solid running back when on the field whose only flashy move is a very tight spin move that can leave defenders tackling air. Other than that he is mainly a straight downhill runner that isn’t very elusive and doesn’t cut back much.
If healthy though, I feel comfortable chalking him for 600-700 yards and his share of touchdowns. He has had some fumble problems during his days as Dawg, but has been working hard so far this offseason to improve on that aspect of his game. He is a very good pass blocker and can make some plays in the passing game.
2. Isaiah Crowell
Crowell is dynamic in every facet of his game. Everyone knows about and has seen his highlights on Youtube. He is explosive, has good vision, and has a body that is pretty well put together for an 18-year-old.
Crowell is going to come in and pretty much be considered the starter for the fans, even if he isn’t listed as such by Richt. Richt has already boasted about the kid though, so he is going to get substantial playing time immediately barring injury.
Crowell should be the team’s leading rusher if everything goes according to plan, though I think King is the safer pick with Crowell providing explosive plays and a good amount of yards himself. He does have the skills to come in from day one and be the 1,000-yard rusher that this team needs, I just don’t want to have to put that much pressure on the young man.
3. Carlton Thomas
Thomas is one of those small players that has athletic ability, but he would be better suited in another system. He is not built for the I-formation type of offense that Georgia runs, and therefore will never be more than a change-of-pace back. The bad part for him is that Crowell now brings the explosiveness that he does, making him a guy that could get left with less playing time than he has gotten the past few years.
He does have solid hands and good vision, so he would be a good player in the screen game (something I never understood why they haven’t done with him). Other than that though, I don’t see him making that much of an impact this season.
4. Ken “Boo” Malcome
Many fans wanted to see Malcome play last year, but Richt said one more than one occasion that he wasn’t ready. He battled injuries this spring and was the fourth back of the depth chart, even behind a walk-on.
Malcome’s best chance to contribute this year would be through an injury or from being a goal-line/short-yardage back because of his size. He’s not a great athlete and only has decent speed, but his size does fit well with the downhill rushing attack the Bulldogs use.