ATHENS — Dell McGee didn’t want to say it. He knows any comparison to Nick Chubb elicits certain expectations.

Especially as redshirt sophomore running back Branson Robinson tries to work his way back from his own devastating knee injury.

“He’ll be rehabbing and getting the mental part of the game. He’ll be in every meeting like he has been the entire year. That part hasn’t changed,” Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee said prior to the Orange Bowl. “He’s very motivated. He takes notes like he’s a starter right now. Love his work ethic, love his drive. He has that — y’all have said it before, but a Nick Chubb kind of mentality. He’s just a different guy when it comes to just trying to get back and prepare himself from a physical and mental standpoint.”

Robinson ruptured his patella tendon back in August, forcing him to miss the entire 2023 season.

As a freshman, Robinson was able to show why so many thought highly of the Canton, Miss., product. He ran for 330 yards on 68 carries, scoring three touchdowns.

McGee doesn’t think Robinson to be able to contribute this spring as he continues to recover from his injury. The Bulldogs are expected to begin spring practice at some point in mid-March, with G-Day taking place in April.

For now, Robinson is doing everything he can to try and work himself back into tip-top form.

“He’s a little overweight right now, but that’s to be expected because he can’t run yet,” McGee said. “He’s doing everything he can from a rehab standpoint to make himself the best version of himself.”

With Robinson still out, Georgia will see Roderick Robinson and Andrew Paul earn more carries this spring. Paul knows what Robinson is going through in some regard, as he tore his ACL in August of his freshman season. It took him some time to recover as well and finished this past season with 29 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Roderick Robinson battled ankle injuries in his freshman season, limiting him to just five games. He did save his best work for the end of the season, when he ran for 70 yards on 7 carries in Georgia’s win over Florida State.

With so much uncertainty at the running back position, you can see why Georgia went out and added Trevor Etienne from the transfer portal. He ran for more yards and touchdowns last season, 753 and 8, than the other three running backs have in their career combined.

Georgia also signed Chauncey Bowens, Nate Frazier and Dwight Phillips Jr. in the 2024 signing class, though only Bownes will be with the team for the spring.

The hope with Branson Robinson is that he can make it back to full strength in time for fall camp. McGee is still confident that the third-year running back can be a contributor for the Bulldogs.

He sees it with how Robinson has attacked his rehab to this point, as difficult as it has been.

“He’ll try to do everything to get back,” McGee said. “He may try to do too much because that’s the type of person he is. He was telling me the other day, ‘Man, I feel good. I feel like I can run.’ I was like, ‘Man, you better chill out because you’ve got to do exactly what the doc and the trainers are telling you to do. Don’t rush it.’”

Dell McGee updates status of Branson Robinson