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Nick Chubb (27) is healthy and ready to run.

Own the East: Georgia tailbacks

Chip Towers

Editor’s Note: It may be time for the Georgia Bulldogs to take back the SEC East in 2017. We’ve featured the most important UGA players, coaches, fans and staff for the upcoming season in a 20-part video series, which you can binge-watch right here.

ATHENS — Herschel Walker owns the three greatest single-season rushing performances in Georgia history, topped off by an SEC-record 1,891 yards in 1981.

The next six highest totals were recorded by Nick Chubb and Garrison Hearst (1,547 yards each), Knowshon Moreno (1,400 and 1,334 yards), Todd Gurley (1,385) and Musa Smith (1,324).

Besides all those players playing the tailback position for the Bulldogs, there is another similarity. Every season in which they put up those rushing totals resulted in double-figure wins, including four SEC championships and two additional East Division titles.

When Georgia’s tailbacks have success, so does the team. And Georgia happens to have two very good tailbacks on its team this season. Well, actually four or five. But it’s the top two who have gotten everybody’s attention in 2017.

Chubb and backfield mate Sony Michel surprised the college football world when they both decided to return to Georgia for their senior seasons. Between them they have rushed for 5,835 yards and scored 55 touchdowns. They’ve also covered nearly 1,000 yards as pass receivers.

To say this duo has been productive would be an understatement. So would the notion that Georgia needs them to be productive this season.

Chubb is completely healthy after never being so last season. He rushed for 1,130 yards despite being less than a year removed from reconstructive surgery on his left knee and suffering a high-ankle sprain early in the season.

Michel started two games in Chubb’s stead and ran for 840 yards despite missing a game and playing the first few with a healing broken arm and toiling behind a substandard offensive line.

Between their renewed health, a renovated line and the spirited competition between the close friends, these two tailbacks are a big reason Georgia should own the East in 2017.

Click here to see more of “Own the East,” our 2017 season preview of the Georgia Bulldogs in video form.

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