Mark Richt constantly emphasizes the importance of recruiting elite athletes at the running back position every year, no matter the talent already on the depth chart at that position.
Uncharacteristically, the Bulldogs’ 2013 recruiting class currently has zero.
For Georgia’s sake, that number must grow.
But don’t necessarily expect it to.
The Bulldogs’ recruiting staff has specifically targeted two high-profile tailbacks from this class — Derrick Henry and Greg Bryant.
Henry’s recruitment process started out promising.
During the summer leading into his junior season, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound mammoth of a back verbally committed to Georgia on Dawg Night.
For an entire year, Henry, who now sits third on the state of Florida’s all-time high school rushing list, remained firmly committed to the Bulldogs.
That didn’t last.
Citing premature decision-making, Henry de-committed from Georgia in June and re-opened his options to Tennessee and Alabama, as well.
With his “re-decision” looming on Sept. 27, a major hurdle rests between the Dawgs and a re-commitment from Henry next week — his Sept. 22 official visit with the Crimson Tide.
There is no clear indication that Alabama is the lead-horse, but Henry’s date with Nick Saban five days before his announcement doesn’t bode well for all other parties involved.
Bryant’s road to being undecided followed a similar path.
Like Henry, Bryant claimed he made the impulsive choice to commit before he was ready.
Bryant’s victim was Oklahoma.
After initially choosing the Sooners, Bryant de-committed, added Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia to his list, and made it known that he was heavily interested in exploring a future in the SEC.
Finally, some good news for Georgia.
But, Auburn now looks like the front-runner.
Henry and Bryant are both ready to make an instant impact at the collegiate level, something every football team in the nation covets.
Ultimately, their potential to flourish immediately is what makes the Bulldogs a less-appealing option.
Two people are to blame — Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
Due, in part, to Isaiah Crowell’s dismissal, the two running backs from the 2012 recruiting class have been the focus of Georgia’s running game three games into the season.
Both freshmen have seen over 25 carries for over 175 yards this season, and their immediate production isn’t expected to stop anytime soon.
Fortunately for Gurley and Marshall, they didn’t have to wait to make an impact, but that means that their successors will have to.
So, you can’t fault a high school senior for being hesitant to go to a program that might already have the running back position set in stone for at least three years.
The Bulldogs’ recruiting staff needs a steadfast plan that will continue to attract highly-ranked tailback recruits despite the current strength of the position because, as Georgia fans know best, you never know when your star back will no longer be available.
As Henry and Bryant’s announcements quickly approach, Georgia looks to make a final impression that will help the talented backs from the 2013 recruiting class choose to sport red and black.
It could all be for naught.
For that, you can thank the 2012 recruiting class.
— Benjamin Wolk is a junior Journalism major from Suwanee, Ga.