It’s been nearly two years since Nick Chubb’s significant knee injury against Tennessee in 2015. And despite recovering to play in every game during the 2016 season, Nick Chubb finally enters his senior season as the Nick Chubb his Georgia teammates and fans saw during his freshman season.
Actually, he might be better. He certainly feels better.
“I feel really good, but only the games will tell,” Chubb said last week to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, who published a profile on Chubb, ‘Born to Run,’ Wednesday afternoon. “I’m probably better in terms of speed and quickness.”
That’s music to the ears of the aforementioned teammates and fans but also to Georgia’s coaches, a whole new staff under head coach Kirby Smart, who didn’t get to experience first hand the marvel that Chubb’s freshman season was.
“I didn’t know at the time (last year) that he probably wasn’t 100 percent because I don’t know that I had seen 100 percent,” said Smart, who had to gameplan for Chubb the week before his injury. “I’ve seen it now. He’s a lot quicker. I see flashbacks to his freshman year and sophomore year when he was really quick, really explosive. Those things are starting to show back up.”
If Chubb continues at 100 percent during this season, he’ll at least push his NFL draft stock back up to the point where it was after his first year in Athens, if not higher.
“When I saw him his freshman year, I thought he’d be a first-round pick and the first back drafted in three years, not four,” a South region scout from an NFC West team told Goodbread. “I thought there was no way this guy’s going to stay around for four years.”
But he did — to end his college career on the right note, play with his good friends, and try to bring a title to Georgia.
“If it was about money for him,” his mother La’Velle said, “he’d have been gone (after his junior season).”
If Chubb’s ability to bounce back from a major injury is anything like how he bounces back from a hard-hitting game, Chubb will be in great shape as this season progresses and April’s draft approaches. His former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo described the first practice after Chubb’s first career start, in which he had 38 carries.
“I’ve never seen anyone practice that hard and fast as that day,” Bobo said. “It was like he didn’t even play two days earlier. I turned to coach Richt and said, ‘This guy’s unreal.'”