Admittedly, it has been a rough recruiting cycle for Kirby Smart and his staff over the past few months. Sure, they did pick up commitments from big linemen Warren Ericson and Owen Condon, and impeccably named defender Rachad Wildgoose, Jr. But the story of this class had largely been one of decommitments and near misses until Scotland County, North Carolina tailback Zamir White announced this afternoon that he will be matriculating the ball down the field in Athens.
For my money, offensive line, especially the interior line, is the hardest positions to extrapolate to the next level in recruiting. Tailback, on the other hand, is one of the easiest. The things you see a high school tailback asked to do on film are generally the things he will be asked to do on the collegiate gridiron. He will just be doing them against bigger, faster competition.
While college benches are full of blue-chip tailbacks who never really learned to block and for whom pass protection remain a mystery, by and large what you see on tape from a high school tailback is what you get when he's handed the ball on Saturday.
If I am right about this, then we should all be very excited about Zamir White. As you can see from these Junior highlights, White is that rare big tail back with the shiftiness, vision, quickness through the hole, and speed in the open field to be a threat on every touch.
From the first play I see a guy with really quick feet. There’s some temptation when you see a high school back listed at 220 pounds to worry about whether he’ll get to big and lumbering. I don't worry about that with White. Truthfully, he could lose a step and still be more agile than any current Bulldog back except Sony Michel.
Take particular note of the plays on which White shows patience through the hole, allows his blocking to set up, follows blockers into the open field, and then has the explosiveness to take it to the house. Anyone who watched the Georgia offense in 2017 knows that, especially with the impending loss of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, that's something Georgia desperately needs.
The man sometimes called “Zeus” also brings something Georgia’s stable of power backs has largely missed since Todd Gurley left town: true world class open field speed. Nick Chubb is faster than you or I. And he could run over both of us without breaking stride. But he has a tendency to get run down in the open field by defensive backs. Zamir White is unlikely to encounter that often. This guy has serious wheels.
If he stays healthy and learns the offense White will get carries as a true freshman in 2018. That opportunity for early playing time was one reason he cited for his UGA commitment. But I could also see him being an instant contributor on special teams, not least of all as a kickoff returner. Would you want to tackle him one on one in the open field?
Zamir White is the rare tailback who looks equally effective inside or outside, in traffic or running away through the open field. He also has the potential to be the kind of “bell cow” recruit who other 2018 prospects follow to Athens. In short, as noted recruiting analyst Ice Cube would have put it, today was a good day.