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Looking Back - 2019 Running Back - How Did Georgia Do?

Jason Brassell

Every Sunday from here on out, I'm going to go back and see how UGA fared on the recruiting trail according to how our payers' stats stand up against top targets that went elsewhere. Of course this isn't meant to be anything to diminish our guys or how much they mean to our program. They're Dawgs and we appreciate every single one of them. We just want to see how UGA's choice stacks up against guys that wanted to come here and we didn't have room and guys that chose to go elsewhere. We probably won't do very recent recruiting classes, as many of them are still getting acclimated to playing at the next level. We'll do mostly guys in their senior year, some juniors, and guys who have already moved on to the NFL or elsewhere.

The first position group we'll take a look at is the running backs from the 2019 class.

Georgia took one running back this cycle in Kenny McIntosh. We did recruit others, but McIntosh was high on the board and 'Committed to the G' on November 14th, 2018. This was shortly after his official visit to Athens. Just as the Dawgs do every year, we targeted many other high profile targets to continue the tradition of RB-U. Two of the top targets were 5* Trey Sanders and 5* John Emery.

Trey Sanders had some of the most excitement around his recruitment. He committed to Alabama shortly after being offered his sophomore year in high school, but decommitted from the Crimson Tide in January of 2018. Two days later, he named Alabama his leader. He took official visits to Texas, FSU, Alabama, UGA, and Florida. While most everyone knew he was a big Alabama lean, many thought UGA had a legitimate chance leading up to the early signing period in December 2018. He publicly committed on Wednesday afternoon on December 19th, but even more confusion happened after his decision. It looked at if he hadn't sent in his letter of intent to The University of Alabama. That gave some fans hope that he might be changing his mind, until Alabama finally announced him as an official 2019 signee shortly after midnight. Sanders was severely injured in a car accident in 2020, where it took him months to recover and come back to the team.

There was just as much excitement around the recruitment John Emery, Jr. The 5* RB from Louisiana actually committed to UGA in July of 2018. Kirby Smart and the Dawgs have always liked to bring in running backs by the pair, and they had one of their main guys in Emery. The problem with recruiting is that things can change quicky, and they did here. LSU began to make him a priority recruit and Emery decommitted from UGA in late October of 2018. Less than a month later, he was on the LSU commit list. He took one official visit to LSU and signed on December 19th. Of course rumors swirled around his reason for the flip, none of which would ever be confirmed even if someone wanted to. After his first two seasons at LSU, Emery was ruled academically ineligible for the 2021 season.

Noah Cain was a 4* RB that was very high on UGA. For a while it actually looked like there was a chance he'd be a Dawg. He took OVs to UGA, Penn State, LSu, and a couple of others. He committed to Penn State on the first day of the early signing period on December 19th. Cain actually in January of this year and is now at LSU.

Four star RB DJ Williams had a very late blooming recruitment, as major D1 schools only started recruiting the Appalachian State commit in November of 2018. UGA was one of those schools that took notice and he took an official visit to Athens. That's as far as it got with the Dawgs and he eventually chose the Auburn Tigers on early signing day. After two years at Auburn, Williams transferred to FSU. He spent a year there and transferred to Arizona in June of this year.

2019 RB Top Targets Career Stats
Kenhy McIntosh 4*, #187 overall, #11 RB UGA College 130 753 5.8 6 33 356 10.8 2
Noah Cain 4*, #98 overall, #6 RB PennSt College 193 806 4.2 12 26 166 6.4 0
DJ Williams 4*, #319 overall, #21 RB Aub/FSU/Ari College 132 646 4.8 6 12 72 6.0 0
John Emery, Jr 5*, #13 overall, #2 RB LSU College 114 566 5.0 7 20 133 6.7 0
Trey Sanders 5*, #6 overall, #1 RB Ala College 102 448 4.4 2 7 53 7.6 0

Kenny McIntosh has been the most steady out of the group. The other four either lost significant time (Trey Sanders to no fault of his own) or have transferred at least once. Cain has the most comparable stats to McIntosh out of the group. This will be a big year for all of them, as they'll get a chance to answer a lot of questions. How will McIntosh do as one of the main two contributors at RB after playing behind NFL draftees Zamir White and James Cook? How will EMery fare coming off of an ineligible year and sharing the load with Noah Cain? Will DJ Williams get it going at his third school in three years? Will Trey Williams ever be the same after the car accident?

The most productive running backs from the 2019 class were all ranked pretty high. Six of the seven top backs are in the NFL, and only one of them went undrafted. The other will play his senior season at a new school. Hopefully McIntosh can match some of their numbers as one of the two featured backs this season:

2019 Top Running Backs Career Stats
Breece Hall 4*, #339 overall, #22 RB IowaSt NYJ, Rd 2, Pk 36 718 3941 5.5 50 82 734 9.0 6
Isaiah Spiller 4*, #152 overall, #9 RB aTm LAC, Rd 4, Pk 123 541 2993 5.5 25 74 585 7.9 1
Jerrion Ealy 5*, #23 overall, #3 RB Miss KC, Undrafted 384 2235 5.8 20 67 585 8.1 4
Kyren Williams 4*, #367 overall, #24 RB ND LAR, Rd 5, Pk 164 419 2153 5.1 27 78 675 8.7 4
Zach Charbonnet 4*, #46 overall, #4 RB Mich/UCLA College 371 1987 5.4 25 38 268 7.1 0
Kevin Harris 3*, #702 overall, #44 RB USCe Ne, Rd 6, Pk 183 358 1977 5.5 23 35 274 7.8 1
Tyrion Price-Davis 4*, #139 overall, #8 RB LSU SF, Rd 3, Pk 93 379 1744 4.6 15 28 185 6.6 0
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