TB: Todd Gurley (Jr) Keith Marshall (Jr) Brendan Douglas (So) JJ Green (So) AJ Turman (rsFR) Nick Chubb (Fr) Sony Michel (Fr) Kyle Karempelis* (Sr)
FB: Merritt Hall* (Jr) Quayvon Hicks (Jr) Taylor Maxey* (Sr) Cameron Faulkner* (Jr?) Dominic Bryan* (So)
* = walked on
The Gurley Man is the headline act here. A strong Heisman contender, Doak Walker contender, and all the other post season awards he could qualify for, Gurley had injuries keep his just shy of 1000 yds rushing this past season, where he also flashed his receiving skills with 37 receptions, 441 yards, and 6 TDs through the air. Of course, he still averaged a tremendous 6 yards per carry, and has 27 rushing TDs to go with 2374 yards on the ground. It's not a stretch to suggest the 2014 Dawg offense will be built around the Tarboro, NC native and allow him to flourish in what is likely his last season for the Red and Black.
His fellow North Carolina native, Keith Marshall has fewer than 200 touches so far in his Bulldawg career, thanks in large part to the ACL he tore against Tennessee. It's doubtful he's back to 100% when the season starts, though he is likely in uniform and available vs. Clemson. Marshall has shown the size and speed to be a big time play maker when he is healthy enough to take the field. He's an excellent compliment to Gurley when they've shared time, and against LSU and Tennessee last season showed he can be the primary workhorse as well. If anything, the knee injury makes it easier to justify Marshall coming back for his senior season in 2015 to be the main man. But with Gurley and Marshall as your top 2 on the depth chart, we should have among the best, if not the best, running back situation in the country.
But as we saw this past season, you'll likely need more than 2 ball carriers to get through an SEC season. And Georgia's quality doesn't drop off much behind those top two. Brendan Douglas was a revelation as a freshman, plowing his way to 345 yards on the ground and another 172 through the air. He's thick enough to become a possible play making FB (cue the Mike Alstott, Peyton Hillis, etc comparisons), but proved last year he's got a future as a feature rusher as well.
JJ Green was the other freshman forced into action when Gurley and Marshall had to sit, and the Camden County product was excellent as well. He averaged over five and a half yards per carry, gobbling up 384 yards to be the team's second leading rusher after Gurley. Green showed some impressive running between the tackles, in addition to the slippery speed that have some wondering how long he stays in the offensive backfield. With the depth chart much strong this coming season as opposed to last, and a glaring need in the defensive backfield, it wouldn't be a shock for Green to line up at CB, or even S considering his physicality, in 2014. Richt says he's sticking at TB, and he could also return kickoffs or punts, or both, to make sure he gets the ball in his hands regularly. But it'll be interesting to watch this spring if the staff cross trains him some at WR, or possibly as a DB, to keep their options open.
Kyle Karempelis enters his senior season giving depth, but he isn't likely to be needed with those 4, plus a trio of talented freshman also in the mix. AJ Turman redshirted last year, but got rave reviews for his talent level. He's a physical back, and like Douglas may see a greater opportunity adding some pounds, working on his blocking, and becoming a play making FB. Though some hinted he was a better ball carrier than either Douglas or Green, so don't be shocked if he becomes the #3 back this fall.
Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will be the new arrivals this summer (they still have over 2 weeks until it becomes official, but neither seems to be wavering on their commitment). There have been similarities drawn between these two, and the juniors Gurley and Marshall, with Michel occupying the lightning fast Marshall spot and Chubb providing the all around awesome of Gurley. Now, that's probably high expectations, but it's a sign of just how good these two 5 star talents can be. And neither one seems to be expecting to redshirt, in spite of the talent already around (which adds a bit of credence to the idea Green moves to DB or WR).
Suffice it to say folks, it looks like RB U is back in business after a bit of a drop off there in the mid/late 90s and early 2000s.