The Red & Black’s Tyler Estep checks in with Richard Samuel on the off-season state of the Dogs’ tailbacks, where Caleb King is penciled in at No. 1 but didn’t finish up the spring with a very firm grip on the starting job. Samuel’s still awfully young but showed flashes of potential last season. Then there are Carlton Thomas, the surprise star of the spring, and Dontavius Jackson, also coming back from injury. And if he doesn’t get redshirted, true freshman Washaun Ealey is likely to get into the mix, too.
Samuel, who estimates he’s “not quite” 100 percent recovered from wrist surgery in January but expects to be fine when camp opens in August, says the tailbacks themselves aren’t really paying attention to the focus fans are putting on the competition at that position.
“We don’t even really talk about it,” he says. “We just go out there and all help each other out, and if we see a person messing up we’re going to try to help the other person. So we don’t really see it as competition. We know it’s a competition in the back of our heads, but we just do the best that we can every day.”
Samuel tells the R&B he’s seen that King is “pushing himself. He has that drive to be better. He’s working hard in that weight room, working hard in that film room. Just the drive and determination that he has is stronger.”
Mark Richt is already on record saying King has “become an outstanding pass protector” (contrary to last season) and understands Georgia’s system better now. If he’s found the drive and determination that seemed to be missing in the spring — the spark to bust a tackle or go for the extra yard — that can only be good news for the Dogs.