Well, the wait is officially over, Keith Marshall—the much-heralded tailback out of Millbrook High School in North Carolina—has chosen the University of Georgia as his 2012 destination. Now, all the fans of the red and black need do is sweat it out until February when his verbal commitment becomes one of the permanent kind via his signature on a letter of intent.
Although, for my money, Marshall won’t likely waver from his decision.
The announcement, made today in front of press, peers, and family was short and sweet. No multiple hats, no hidden ties, no jacket-hidden t-shirt, and no props. Marshall simply approached the podium in a pair of khaki’s and a long-sleeved dress shirt, removed a red hat from a black plastic bag, and stated clearly that he would be attending the University of Georgia.
The crowd’s reaction to the announcement was one of appluase with a couple of “woofs” from a few likely Dawg fans in attendance, but then it was over—back to class everybody. So what does this mean for the Georgia Bulldogs? Well, hopefully it will mean the beginnings of a better view at the tailback position.
The Dawgs have struggled all year at the running back position, between injuries and suspensions, and that lack of depth showed definitively in the SEC Championship Game when it became clear Isaiah Crowell wasn’t going to be as effective as hoped.
From the start of the season, most knew Georgia would be thin at tail—particularly after both Washaun Ealey (transfer) and Caleb King (academically ineligible) departed from the team—but many hoped to see Isaiah Crowell come in and take the reigns in a major way. However, despite the flashes of brilliance the young freshman showed all year, it became clear early that he would need time to adjust to the physicality of the SEC—even so, he still managed to rush for more than 800 yards and he garnered SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
That said, with Marshall presumably on board, and headed to Athens, Richt could have the makings of a lovely 1-2 tandem in his backfield to compliment the passing game that has found new fire with Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell leading the way.
Even more, the addition of another big time tailback could translate into more focus from Crowell who has had some trouble this season avoiding injury and remaining focused off the football field—the young frosh was suspended once during the season for violation of team rules.
Only time will tell if Marshall is going to be the real deal, but it’s clear that he can only strengthen the Bulldogs if he is and, hopefully, that will be precisely what he ends up doing.