For the second year in a row, the No. 1-rated running back in the nation is headed to UGA.
Keith Marshall of Raleigh committed to UGA on Tuesday, picking the Bulldogs over Clemson, Florida and South Carolina.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder will enroll early at UGA, starting classes in January. He is expected to contribute immediately to the Bulldogs, which have been plagued with major problems and issues with their running backs.
“The first thing Keith Marshall does is give Georgia immediate depth at tailback,” said Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst for 247sports.com. “He also gives Georgia a game-changing running back, but depth is the biggest thing right now. Whether Isaiah Crowell is healthy or not, they had to add depth to the backfield.”
What can you expect from Marshall at UGA next season? He doesn’t have the same bulk or power as Crowell, but is a track guy who can score from anywhere on the field if he gets into open space.
“He’s probably one of the fastest running backs in the country on the football field,” Mansell said. “But he’s not just a track guy. He’s a football guy that I don’t think gets enough credit for running strong.
“That was the biggest surprise for me going up there to North Carolina and watching him play in person – was how many tackles he breaks. He’s not just an ‘on the edge’ guy. He can stick it up there between the tackles and get the tough 5-6-7 yards that you’re going to need on the college level.”
Last year, UGA also landed the No. 1 RB in the nation, Crowell. We had to ask: Who is the better RB coming out of high school – Crowell or Marshall?
“That’s a tough one,” Mansell said. “If I had to strictly rank them, I would put Crowell over Marshall by a tad bit just because Crowell was 5-11 and 210 pounds when he came out of high school. He was ready. Now Keith is enrolling early in college, which will be an advantage for him. He will have the whole spring and summer to add bulk. He’s 190 pounds now, and needs to gain only 10-15 pounds to be an every-down back in the SEC.”
UGA now has 16 commitments for its 2012 recruiting class and will likely sign 25 in February. The Bulldogs hope to secure two running backs, with another North Carolinian – Todd Gurley of Tarboro – as a top target. Gurley will announce in early January.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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