August 16, 2012

Recruiting focus: RBs

No one doubts the talent of Georgia freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

Both were Rivals100 players coming out of their respective North Carolina high schools, and both have performed well enough in their first fall camp to cause Mark Richt to state that neither will redshirt in 2011.

But the question remains, what about the 2013 class?

Since the decommitment of Yulee (Yulee, Fla.) athlete Derrick Henry, the Bulldogs have been without a commitment at the all-important position, and with senior Richard Samuel playing out his final year of eligibility in Athens this fall, UGA will be left with only three players at one of the most physically demanding positions on the field.

Below, UGASports takes a look at a few remaining targets at running back and where their recruitment stands at this time.

• RB Alvin Kamara (Norcross) - Kamara debuted in the Rivals 2013 prospect rankings as a four star, and has climbed every since. The 5-foot-10, 194 pound speedster has the frame to bulk up and be more of an every down back, but also has the speed and explosiveness to split out and make plays. He showed his versatility in the Georgia Rising Seniors game in December with over 100 yards receiving, and has impressed at both The Opening and Gridiron Kings this fall with his versatility.

Recruitment: At this point, it looks to be a two-team battle for the talented runner. Georgia and Alabama have been atop Kamara's list for quite awhile, and both teams have continued to recruit him diligently. At this moment, UGA seems to have the edge due to their opportunity at the position and the lack of running back commitments in the 2013 class. Alabama currently has two running backs committed, and could add a third if Henry commits to the Tide soon like many are expecting. Georgia was the first SEC school to offer Kamara, and if signing day were today, Athens is where we believe he would play his college ball.

• RB A.J. Turman (Boone; Orlando, Fla.) - If Kamara is considered "lightning," then Turman would definitely be considered "thunder." The 6-foot, 205 pound prospect is a physical downhill runner with very good straight-line speed. He is primarily a "one cut" runner that can thrive in both power and zone blocking schemes, but he also has the ability to slash. He has excellent balance despite being considered as a taller than average runner, and while Turman does run upright, he does a good job of lowering his pads and delivering the blow to the defender.

Recruitment: Georgia, Florida State, and Tennessee are the three teams that are mentioned most often with Turman. Few knew that the Sunshine State runner had legitimate interest in the Bulldogs until he visited last month, and the Georgia coaching staff made quite an impression. The reality of the situation is that FSU would probably have the edge if they decided to take Turman, but odds are against that happening. Those close to him have told UGASports that he was very impressed with his visit to Athens, and should a return visit occur during the season, the Bulldogs would likely be the team to beat.

• RB Greg Bryant (American Heritage; Plantation, Fla.) - Bryant is arguably the most talented back in the country. He has the ability to hit the big play, or be a workhorse. He is also still growing into his body, and will likely add significant weight and muscle mass in the next couple of years. Right now, he benefits from a big, powerful lower body and excellent balance. Bryant showed at the Rivals100 Five Star Challenge in June that he has excellent hands and can be lethal in space as well.

Recruitment: Until a few weeks ago, Bryant was committed to Oklahoma. Since opening things up he has mentioned Auburn, South Carolina, and Georgia as three teams he is interested in, and has made it clear that he would like to play in the SEC. Auburn has the edge for Bryant at this time, but the Sunshine State standout will likely take at least an unofficially, and possibly an official, visit to Athens this fall. The Bulldogs have a chance her, but watch out for South Carolina as the success of Marcus Lattimore in Columbia will likely appeal to Bryant.

• RB Tyren Jones (Walton) - Jones was the state of Georgia's leading rusher in 2011 with 2,375 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns, and he hopes to build on those totals in 2012. Jones has gotten noticeably thicker and more muscular since his junior season, and is hoping to be more of a physical runner in his final year at Walton. He doesn't have elite speed, but it is more than adequate, and the four star running back has excellent explosion. Maybe more than anyone on Georgia's list of targets, Jones is a natural running back with elite vision. He does a great job of spotting the daylight, and has the lateral quickness to get in the running lane.

Recruitment: Jones has been committed to Alabama since the spring, and hasn't made any public comments that would lead fans to believe he is wavering. The Walton standout did, however, visit Athens with teammate and Georgia offensive line commitment Brandon Kublanow and 2014 defensive back prospect D.J. Smith, who is also a teammate. Those close to the situation feel Jones will be returning to Athens to visit with his family in the near future, and the Bulldogs, despite his commitment to the Tide, never stopped recruiting him. Jones has an excellent relationship with Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon, and the Bulldogs are going to work hard to get their foot in the door if they haven't already.

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