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August 2, 2008
Freshman of Impact: Richard Samuel
Position: Running back
There are a number of freshmen Georgia fans will be anxious to see and running back Richard Samuel is right near the top of the list.
Although head coach Mark Richt still hasn't officially decided the former Cass High star's role, it's becoming more and more apparent that Samuel could play a larger one that initially thought. Samuel reported to school in January and has wowed coaches and teammates alike by being in tremendous shape. Even at 17, Samuel looks ready to go.
Today, UGASports continues its series looking at 10 freshmen published in descending order who could make the biggest impact this fall. The list is influenced by depth at the position, not just their high school credentials.
Who is in front of him: Redshirt sophomore Knowshon Moreno is one of the country's top running backs and is being mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. Behind him is redshirt freshman Caleb King, who was impressive in April's G-Day game by rushing for 31 yards. The Bulldogs also have fellow freshman Dontavius Jackson, Carlton Thomas and sophomore Kalvin Daniels who will also be vying for playing time.
Climbing the depth chart: Moreno is obviously the proverbial bell cow in the Bulldog backfield with King expected to get at least 10 touches per game. If Samuel can establish himself as the No. 3 back, it would not be a stretch to see the freshman perhaps cut into King's carries. That's not a slap at King. But Samuel may be that good. Of course, he'll still have to prove himself during preseason workouts. As long as he does, Samuel will certainly see the field.
What will make it tough: There are a number of factors that could affect Samuel's playing time. Injuries, of course, could play a role, but as long as Moreno is healthy, he'll make the bulk of the carries. The number of times Georgia will throw the ball (which will be a lot) could also affect his touches.
UGASports' take: "Barring some kind of setback in preseason, it will be a shocker if Richard does not see the field at some point this fall. He brings so much to the table from an athletic perspective that it's going to be near impossible to keep him on the sideline for long."