October 21, 2011

The Big Board - RBs

The Big Board - Running Backs

Main Targets

Keith Marshall (5-11, 190 pounds, Raleigh, N.C., Millbrook High) - Marshall is a big-time running back with blazing speed. He is listed as an all purpose back but he could develop into more of a traditional back as he adds muscle. He is a guy with a great deal of poise and maturity. He catches the ball well out of the back field, and he has the ability to go from zero to top end speed very quickly. Marshall has good vision, and runs with surprising power for a player who is still a little skinny. There is no doubt that he has game-breaking speed, vision, and elusiveness.

Recruiting: Marshall has visited Georgia and Florida officially and loved both visits. He will be at Notre Dame this weekend as the Fighting Irish take on Southern California. Marshall has played his recruitment close to the vest but it is widely known that Marshall grew up a Georgia fan and has an excellent relationship with head coach Mark Richt and running backs coach Bryan McClendon. Marshall has also made it known that he is not scared of competition or sharing carries, and he knows that the school he roots for is also in need of a running back. Georgia is the team to beat right now.

Todd Gurley (6-1, 195 pounds, Tarboro, N.C., Tarboro High) - Gurley is a versatile athlete that could play a variety of positions at the next level. Most schools are recruiting him as a running back or a hybrid running back/receiver. Gurley is longer than most running backs and has a higher center of gravity, but he still has great balance and excellent vision. He also has an advanced understanding of how to set up defenders in space and use his blockers. Gurley is a patient running back most of the time but there are times where he gets a little too aggressive. He needs to get stronger in his lower half, but he has great hands would be a nice fit in an offense where he can get touches in the running game and as a receiver.

Recruiting: Gurley maintains that Georgia and North Carolina are at the top of his list. Clemson has recently entered the race, but many still feel it is a close race between the Bulldogs and Tarheels. Gurley and Marshall are close friends and want to play together, but they are quick to mention that they are not a package deal. Unlike Marshall, Gurley is not an early enrollee and will decide at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on January 3. Clemson is a team to watch here, but they have ground to make up. Since Gurley will be deciding in January, it will be interesting to see if he has enough time to bond with North Carolina's new coach who will likely be hired at season's end. Because of those two factors, Georgia has the edge with 10 weeks left.

Secondary Targets

MacGarrett Kings Jr. (5-11, 180 pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., University School) - Kings Jr. is a Michigan State commitment that Georgia offered in September. He is currently committed to MSU as a wide receiver, but UGA wants him as a running back. He fits their need for a "scat back" type of running back that can play some receiver, and he is dangerous in space. He doesn't have elite speed, but he is very similar to former UGA wide receiver and punt returner Damien Gary. It appears that Kings Jr. is firm to MSU at the moment and will not take an official visit to Georgia.

Sheldon Dawson (5-11, 170 pounds, Memphis, Tenn., Ridgeway High) - Dawson does not have a Georgia offer but UGA has been in contact recently. Dawson is a speedster with good hands and the ability to make plays in the open field. He, like Kings Jr. and Gurley, fits the profile of the hybrid running back/ wide receiver that Georgia is targeting. Dawson is committed to Memphis, but things could change if Georgia decides to offer.

• Chris Brown (6-0, 185 pounds, Donalsonville, Ga., Seminole County High) - Brown had received almost no attention coming into the year and is still getting far less than he deserves. Some schools, including UGA, are taking notice. Brown is another thin back with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but he is also a very talented runner. He has excellent vision and runs with power despite his small frame. He also has a nose for the end zone as he has scored 19 touchdowns this year through seven games. The small town back has heard from Southern Miss and Illinois recently, but is still waiting on his first offer.

The Run Down

Georgia could elect to only take one running back in this class if they miss on Marshall or Gurley. The only thing that seems certain is that they will take both of those guys if they have a chance. Right now they have only extended the one extra offer to Kings Jr. But if another offer goes out, it could mean that the Georgia coaching staff doesn't like their chances for one or even both of the North Carolina duo. With that said, it appears that Georgia is in very good position with both Gurley and Marshall at this time.

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