Alabama is simply loaded at the running back position. But, wait, so is Georgia.
Which team has the better backs? That’s a tough question.
Georgia comes in with Nick Chubb.
Chubb was incredible as a true freshman in 2014 with the suspension of the Gurley man, Todd Gurley. Then, the later season ending injury for the junior super star, Gurley, left the job mostly in true freshman Nick Chubb’s more than capable hands.
Chubb responded with an amazing 1,547 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. But, it wasn’t a fairy tale for Nick Chubb either because he suffered a severe injury against Tennessee during his sophomore
season and finished with 747 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns.
Luckily, the Bulldogs also had the even more highly recruited Sony Michel from Plantation, Florida. Michel stepped up and ran for 1,161 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Tough Nick Chubb rebounded in 2016 and cracked the 1,000 yard barrier once again with 1,130 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns. His sidekick, Michel ran for 840 yards and another 4 scores.
This season, this fantastic duo is having their way with opposing defenses yet again. The Cedartown, Georgia product, Chubb, is a chiseled 5-10, 225 with very good speed. Even more sculpted is Michel at 5-11, 215 and he’s dropped a few pounds from last season.
To top it off, the Bulldogs recruited the 5-9, 215 D’Andre Swift from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This true freshman has already contributed 366 yards on 46 carries and a touchdown.
Is Swift the future star of the program? Maybe, but what about sophomore Elijah Holyfield? Obviously the son of the great heavyweight fighter, but he’s a talent in his own right and has 227 yards and 2 scores this season. Holyfield is of the same body type at 5-11, 215. Oh, and I am not going to be the one to tell his father that Elijah can’t play.
Unranked recruit last season, Brian Herrien is also in the mix. He was a late addition to the outstanding Georgia recruiting class of 2016 and he came in right away and ran for over 300 yards. This season, he’s had a little bit less success than as a true freshman, but he’s still contributed 166 yards and a touchdown.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will be gone after this season, but don’t worry for the Bulldogs. For the 2018 recruiting class they have committed the top running back in the class in Laurinburg, North Carolina’s Zamir White. Desired by every football program in the country, White picked Georgia and he will now also compete with Dalvin Cook’s little brother, James. The younger Cook is the 3rd ranked running back in the nation and was previously committed to follow his brother to Florida State.
It’s hard to argue that the Georgia Bulldogs have a deep group of backs and it’s going to be equally talented next season with the additions of White and Cook. Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart can really recruit.
But, wait before crowning the Bulldogs the kings of running backs in college football. There’s also Alabama to consider.
The Crimson Tide are also very deep and very talented. Nick Saban loves to run the ball and he’s
going to have great running backs.
Junior Damien Harris is considered the starter for the Crimson Tide and he came off of a 1,000 yard season in 2016. This year, the 5-11, 220 Harris has right at 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Alabama plays a lot of backs just like Georgia and he shares time with 6-2, 235 Bo Scarbrough. Last year, Scarbrough did most of his damage in the playoffs and he finished with 812 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. This year, Scarbrough has only slightly less than 400 rushing yards, but if he’s like last season he will come on strong.
The Crimson Tide signed one of the top running back recruits in the country in Najee Harris. The Antioch, California native is 6-2, 230 with good speed and obvious power. Harris has been used somewhat sparingly so far this season and is just under 300 yards rushing on the season.
Although Harris is probably the running back of the future for the Crimson Tide, they also signed home town guy Brian Robinson. At about 6-1, 220, Robinson has a chance to be a good player, too. He’s only had limited opportunity, but he has averaged nearly 7 yards per carry.
Alabama also can run out sophomore Joshua Jacobs from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jacobs is of the same build as the rest at 5-11, 215 with very good speed. He’s averaging over 7 yards per carry and is a great receiver out of the backfield.
they don’t have is a Jalen Hurts.
The Crimson Tide quarterback is a serious weapon with his feet. As a true freshman last season, Hurts ran for 954 yards while throwing for nearly 2,800 yards. While those weren’t Lamar Jackson numbers, they were still pretty strong and true freshman Georgia quarterback has only 87 rushing yards this season.
So far in 2017, Hurts has 572 yards and 6 touchdowns running the ball.
Should Hurts go down, back up Tua Tagovailoa is cut from the same cloth. There’s probably not going to be a lot of drop off.
Because of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, I’d have to give a slight edge to the Bulldogs. But, with Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough on board, the Crimson Tide train is hard to derail.
They both have some incredible running backs for now and the future.