For the first time in the Kirby Smart era at Georgia, there are only four scholarship running backs on the roster as the team enters this offseason.
With junior D’Andre Swift and senior Brian Herrien both exiting the program for the start of their NFL careers, Smart is left with three returning running backs who had fewer combined carries in the past season than Swift had by himself.
That’s not to say that Georgia is starving for talent. But the Bulldogs will have to rely on players with little experience in the backfield, which has also become the theme for them at nearly every offensive position.
On Jan. 7, Georgia decided to release five-star running back Zachary Evans from his National Letter of Intent. It is still uncertain why that decision was made, but here is the list of players who will need to step-up in order for Georgia to continue to find success on the ground.
White is commonly known between the hedges as ‘Zeus,’ a nickname given during his pre-college days on his way to being the No. 1 running back coming out of the 2018 recruiting class, per the 247Sports Composite.
He missed every game during his true freshman season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, which was his second ACL tear in less than a full calendar year. Stepping back into action during the 2019-20 season, White steadily improved as the season progressed and even earned his first start against No. 7 Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, carrying the ball 18 times for 92 rushing yards and a touchdown.
After the impressive first start, White appears to be the early front runner to get most of the snaps this season. He ended his redshirt freshman campaign with 78 carries for 408 rushing yards and three touchdowns. With another offseason to improve health-wise, look for the best version of White to come beginning on Sept. 7 against Virginia.
Cook is the younger brother of current-NFL running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. In his two seasons, he has shown big-play capability with the Bulldogs, as he’s averaged 6.5 yards per carry through his first two seasons.
Smart used Cook in more than one way last season, as he finished with 31 carries and 16 receptions. He appeared in all 14 games, and it’s safe to say he’ll have a larger place in the game plan during his junior year.
Cook was arrested on Dec. 14, 2019, after getting pulled over with an open alcoholic beverage in his car. He was also driving without a valid license, which are both misdemeanors. The charge didn’t hold him from playing in the Sugar Bowl, but he only received three carries even though Georgia was without Herrien.
McIntosh is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was a four-star running back in the 2019 recruiting class. Although McIntosh didn’t receive much playing time in his first season with Georgia, he averaged the most yards per carry on the team for his position, with 7.
He had the second-most rushes on the team in the Sugar Bowl, running for 26 yards on six carries. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, McIntosh could be considered more in short-yardage situations this season – as well as near the goal line.
McIntosh tallied 1,345 rushing yards on 199 carries for 19 rushing touchdowns in his senior year of high school. While he likely won’t receive that type of workload this season, look for McIntosh to draw more action on Saturdays in his sophomore season for the Bulldogs.
Milton is making his way to Athens from Clovis, California, where he was rated as a four-star running back and No. 9 recruit in the state per the 247Sports Composite.
He began practicing for Georgia earlier this year as an early enrollee, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he’ll have this fall. In his sophomore and junior years in high school, Milton totaled 2,851 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns.
Milton wouldn’t be the first freshman surprise at running back if he can put together a strong spring in preparation for the G-Day game. Look for him to garner more attention as the year progresses.