What is going on with the school that some still call “Tailback U”?
UGA will play on Saturday without its top three running backs – all suspended.
In the small scheme of things, particularly the impact vs. New Mexico State, it is unlikely to have any effect. However, in the bigger picture, especially when it comes to recruiting, it is part of an alarming trend for UGA and its tailbacks.
Sooner or later, you have to question Georgia’s recruitment and coaching of the tailback position. Going back to Dontavius Jackson and continuing through Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, this makes six tailbacks in the last 15 months that have been subjected to some sort of suspension, dismissal or general disciplinary action. Bryan McClendon gets paid $200,000 a year to be the Bulldogs’ running backs coach. Ultimately, it is his responsibility to see that his charges are doing things “the Georgia way.”
How much do you hold McClendon accountable for Georgia’s alarming woes at tailback? If so, how much? Or has McClendon simply run into a bad (but long) string of bad luck?
Does Georgia need to change the way they evaluate and recruit prospects at tailback? If so, how? What can they be doing better?
On a related note: From a recruiting perspective, this week’s suspensions have made it very clear that UGA’s No. 1 recruiting priority for this year’s class is a top-tier tailback. At least one, maybe two. Maybe more. UGA has 15 commitments but none are tailbacks. This year, UGA seems to be using the same high-risk, high-reward strategy it used successfully to land Isaiah Crowell – zeroing in one main target in the final months before signing day. Can you imagine UGA’s RB concerns right now if Crowell had picked Alabama over UGA last February? It was bold recruiting by UGA but it worked. UGA’s main target this year is Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C. He’s the No. 1-rated running back in the country, according to several recruiting websites, and is reportedly favoring UGA, although Clemson has really gotten involved recently. Marshall will announce his college decision in December after he finishes visits to Clemson and South Carolina later this month. He has already made recruiting trips to UGA, Notre Dame and Florida. UGA has also offered Marshall’s close friend, Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C., who also plays running back. They made an official visit to UGA together. If the Bulldogs land both North Carolina talents, or simply Marshall and another RB (perhaps able to flip one that is committed to another school), then it would tremendously ease the long-term concerns of UGA fans.
Now it’s your turn: What do you think about everything? Please post below.