As many observers expected, Fort Lauderdale (American Heritage) tailback Sony Michel announced this afternoon that he's pledging his services to the University of Georgia.
Michel missed his sophomore campaign with a knee injury, but returned with a strong junior effort, rushing for 1258 yards on 127 attempts and scoring 18 touchdowns. That's a touchdown roughly once in every seven times he ran the ball. That's pretty much the definition of a homerun threat.
Along the way to his decision Michel has collected scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, Clemson, LSU and Wisconsin among others. In addition to collegiate coaches, recruiting services have also taken notice, with Rivals and ESPN rating Sony the #2 tailback in the nation and 247Sports slotting him at #5.
The 5'11, 205 pound rising senior has a great combination of speed and elusiveness, which he showcases in this highlight video on Hudl. Michel compares in a lot of respects to current Bulldog Keith Marshall. He's not a straight ahead power runner, relying on speed and change of direction to make guys miss. He also runs a little too straight up and down for my taste at times. But it's undeniable that Michel has great balance and a solid center of gravity which allows him to bounce off tacklers and punish those who don't tackle him low. Much like Marshall, Michel also has the frame to add a little weight and play in the 215 to 220 pound range.
Georgia's coaches can now turn their attention to Cedartown back Nick Chubb, who is expected to commit soon and has shown strong interest in the home state Bulldogs. If he also chooses the red and black, it's a good bet that the Bulldogs will shut it down at tailback for 2014, having picked up a "thunder and lightning" combo which will draw comparisons to Gurshall.
It's always difficult pulling great players out of south Florida, and even more difficult keeping them out. I don't expect Michel's recruitment process to be completely over, as Al Golden and his Miami staff are certain to keep in touch. But for now the Bulldog staff have taken a big step toward keeping the cupboard stocked at a critical, high profile position. Welcome to Bulldog Nation, Sony! Until later . . .