Georgia learned firsthand in 2013 that you can‚Äôt have enough talented running backs.
More are on the way.
Sony Michel saw the Bulldogs play without injured tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall in October and knew Georgia could have used him.
‚ÄúI watched a couple of games when they were hurt and I felt like I could have been a big part of that,‚Äù Michel said.
The five-star commitment from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., is expected to make the Bulldogs even better in the backfield along with Cedartown running back Nick Chubb.
Michel and Chubb make up what‚Äôs considered the top running back class in the country as national signing day nears on Feb. 5. They got to know each other at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio earlier this month.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre just starting a new journey,‚Äù Michel said.
The 5-foot-11, 207-pound Michel is Georgia‚Äôs top-rated commitment, ranked No. 12 in the nation by Scout.com and No. 13 by Rivals.com. He was a first-team USA Today All-USA selection.
Michel rushed for 1,840 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2013 while leading American Heritage to the Florida Class 5A state title.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not a big numbers person, I just let the numbers come and I just try to win games,‚Äù he said.
Michel‚Äôs been on the scene in south Florida since making a splash on the field starting in eighth grade. He rushed for more than 6,600 yards in his career even with missing his sophomore season with a torn ACL.
‚ÄúSeeing him in person for the first time, I was very impressed with his burst,‚Äù said 247Sports recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell, who watched Michel during the U.S. Army game week. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs
really light on his feet, explosive, just very good. He‚Äôs strong enough to run in between the tackles or get on the edge.‚Äù
Michel committed to Georgia in late April and tweeted this week that Georgia coach Mark Richt told him he will wear No. 1 next season for the Bulldogs.
Michel said he sees himself as a ‚Äúdifferent style of back. I would describe it as an all-around back, with speed and power.‚Äù He grew up liking NFL star running back Adrian Peterson.
‚ÄúI can do a little bit of all of it,‚Äù Michel said.
Georgia‚Äôs depth at running back was tested when it lost Gurley for three and a half games with an ankle injury and Marshall for the final eight games with a torn ACL.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know if you can ever have enough backs, and certainly injury is an issue,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúGuys that are talented enough to possibly have a three-year career instead of a four-year career, you‚Äôve got to plan for all of those things. I don‚Äôt know what decisions guys will make down the road, but certainly we‚Äôve got some very talented backs that will have some decisions to make, as well. That‚Äôs all part of the reason to continue to recruit great players.‚Äù
Mansell thinks both Michel and Chubb will get playing time as freshmen for Georgia.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs just no way you can keep them off the field,‚Äù Mansell said. ‚ÄúWhen it gets down to those things, obviously at Georgia, they‚Äôre going to have to be able to block, they‚Äôre going to have to be able to pick up the schemes before they get thrown into the fire in those first games with Clemson and South Carolina. They‚Äôre definitely going to play meaningful minutes as true freshmen next season. They may not get the bulk of the carries with Gurley and Marshall and some other guys, but Georgia‚Äôs going to play those guys.‚Äù
The Bulldogs also still have J.J. Green, Brendan Douglas and A.J. Turman as scholarship running backs. Georgia could decide to use Green in the slot.
‚ÄúNext year when it comes,‚Äù Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon said last month, ‚ÄúI promise it will take care of itself.‚Äù
Marc Weiszer: firstname.lastname@example.org