Chubb, Michel bolster Bulldogs’ backfield

The photos snapped of a sleeveless and ripped Nick Chubb at the Georgia state track meet last month in Jefferson certainly caught the attention of Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason.

“Nick Chubb looks like Kimbo Slice,” Mason said comparing the incoming freshman to the MMA star. “That might be his new nickname. I saw that picture of him running down the track. He looks like Kimbo Slice running down the track.”

Running backs Chubb from Cedartown and Sony Michel from Plantation, Fla., top-35 overall players nationally by Rivals.com, are joining what looks like it could be one of the nation’s top backfields at Georgia.

It already includes Todd Gurley, named to plenty of preseason All-American teams already out, and fellow junior Keith Marshall, who rushed for 759 yards as a freshman but sustained a torn ACL in the fifth game last season.

And don’t forget sophomore Brendan Douglas and redshirt freshman A.J. Turman.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Mason said. “We’ve got a lot of depth at running back and you figure there’s got to be a way to some way we can find, whether it’s punt returns or kick returns, just getting the ball in the playmakers hands.”

The 5-foot-11, 226-pound Chubb said prior to arriving to campus that he and Michel were coming in with lofty goals on their minds.

“We’re going there to take spots and they’re there to keep their spots,” Chubb said. “That creates competition. Whatever happens happens.”

One thing that figures to happen is that Georgia will try to get the ball in Gurley’s hands early and often, especially with the game on the line.

“If he’s healthy, he’s going to make great runs,” coach Mark Richt said. “You’ve got to give him the ball. We’ve done a pretty good job throwing the ball to him, but you know Keith Marshall is very talented obviously. Brendan Douglas, we like what he did. We’ve got a couple of highly-touted guys coming in. We want to see what they can do. Are we going to give it to him 30 times a game and wear him to a nub? No.”

Gurley, who dealt with ankle and hip injuries last season, had four games in his sophomore season when he carried the ball more than 17 times: 30 against South Carolina, 21 against North Texas, 20 against Georgia Tech and 21 against Nebraska.

“Twenty times, that’s cool,” Gurley said this spring talking about his preferred workload. “That’s perfect. That will good.”

Circumstances, of course, will dictate how much to ride a player who has racked up 2,374 yards rushing with 27 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Bulldogs.

“There may be a game or two where he’s feeling it and we’ve got momentum and he’s pounding and we’re going to let him pound,” Richt said. “Douglas pounds pretty good, too. Keith Marshall can get a home run at any moment so we’ll use all those guys.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and running backs coach Bryan McClendon have said they plan to use both of the freshmen as well.

“I didn’t really worry about the depth chart, if it was too many or less,” Chubb said. “I like Georgia.”

Even if the backfield has plenty of options after Gurley.

“I’m just going to push them and they’ll push me,” Chubb said, “and the best will play.”

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