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Former UGA running back Tim Worley a big believer in Zamir White
The most interesting player on Georgia’s team isn’t a full participant in spring practice. We’re talking of course about redshirt freshman Zamir White.
White’s story is well-known by this point. He tore his ACL at the end of his high school career. Then last August, he tore his other ACL while working on Georgia’s punt team.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has tried to temper expectations on White. Smart said he won’t know more about White’s recovery process until fall camp. The Georgia head coach also added that even though White is doing well with his recovery, Georgia is being even more cautious with his recovery this time around.
But even with Smart tempering excitement, that hasn’t stopped a number of people from projecting big things from the redshirt freshman. White was the No. 1 running back recruit in the 2018 class. He’s the second-highest running back prospect Georgia has ever signed, ahead of the likes of Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
And a talented former Georgia running back is expecting big things from White this year. Former Georgia standout Tim Worley, citing White’s upbringing, says that White can still become an excellent player for Georgia.
“It is a difficult task to come back from him,” Worley said. “My heart goes out to him because he works so hard. He’s overcome a lot and he’s a fighter. I believe he’s going to comeback with a full recovery and be the guy that Georgia recruited a couple of those years ago.
“He’s a great big guy, he’s tough. I want to see him get out there and play.”
Worley knows a thing or two about recovering from an ACL injury. He tore his ACL in his sophomore season at Georgia back in 1986 after leading Georgia in rushing as a freshman. The injury caused him to miss all of the 1987 season as well. But Worley eventually came back and ran for 1,216 in the 1988 season. He went on to become a first round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989.
As we’ve written before, White doesn’t need to be a superstar or even carry the load for Georgia in 2019. The Bulldogs already have D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien as proven options at the position. There’s also James Cook and Kenny McIntosh in the fold as well. White could not take a single carry in 2019 and Georgia would still be set at running back.
But if Georgia does get production out of White, it’s going to make the team all that much more of a national title threat. If the Bulldogs are going to reach their potential in 2019, it’s going to need something out of a talent like White.
White isn’t the first player to try to come back from a serious knee injury. He almost certainly won’t be the last either. As Worley points out, a number of former Bulldogs have come back from knee injuries even worse than White.
“Look at Thomas Davis, a linebacker from the University of Georgia, he had three major knee surgeries and he came back went on to have a great career,” Worley said. “You look at Nick Chubb. No one thought he was going to make it back and he did it in under a year. I believe that Zamir White has that same heart and that same drive to make it back. You are a University of Georgia tailback and we set things straight at the University of Georgia when it comes to running backs.”
Davis went on to have his first All-Pro season in the NFL after his third knee injury. And while Chubb didn’t have a season that equaled his freshman year at Georgia, he was still one of the SEC’s best running backs in his senior season and just had a very successful rookie season with the Cleveland Browns.
Smart also made a point similar to Worley when discussing White’s knee injury earlier this spring as well.
“I’m very pleased with his work ethic. He knows that’s his future,” Smart said. “If he takes care of his knee, he rehabs hard, he does everything we ask him to do — I think Ron (Courson) is one of the best in the country at dealing with this, when you look at the significant injuries he’s dealt with Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, especially at that position, so he has somebody really good to rely on in regards to that. Zamir has managed that really well.”
White has already made progress this spring, as he was going through drills with the running backs at Saturday’s practice. As DawgNation’s Chip Towers pointed out, the only noticeable difference between White and his other running backs, was the brace on his left knee. It’s a small step, but a positive one nonetheless.
White still has a long way to go to validate the hype and return to full strength. But it’s clear that a number of people believe in White and his potential.
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