Georgia football running back D’Andre Swift feels the same way that a lot of fans do when it comes to redshirt freshman running back Zamir White.
White was the No. 1 running back in the 2018 class. But he also missed all of his freshman season as he suffered his second torn ACL — one in each knee.
Those injuries haven’t slowed the hype train for White at all. White won’t play in the Georgia spring game, but he is back practicing with the team this spring.
And much like the Georgia fan base, Swift is looking forward to what a healthy White can bring to the Georgia football team in 2019.
“Yes they do,” Swift said regarding if fans are right to be excited about White. “He works so hard. He’s gotten strong. He’s gotten real strong. I’m expecting a lot of him, everybody is. I think he’s gonna be a great contributor to this team.”
Swift smiled when he initially brought up White when meeting with the media on Tuesday. If White can get healthy and play as well as everyone thinks he can, he’s going to give plenty of Georgia fans a reason to do so as well.
Many have noted White’s world-class work ethic and how he’s attacked his recovery process. Even Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who rarely hands out public praise, has noted White’s efforts to try and get back on the field.
“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.”
Smart did add that Georgia is being more cautious this time around with White’s recovery. That explains why White won’t play in Georgia’s spring game.
There is a possible role for White to fill should he be able to return to full health. Georgia must replace running back Elijah Holyfield, who ran for 1,018 yards last season. White or senior running back Brian Herrien seem like the most obvious candidates to fill that role.
Related: Brian Herrien will be a key piece of UGA offense
In an ideal scenario, Herrien and White will both work to compliment Swift. The junior running back led Georgia in rushing last season with 1,049 yards. And that’s despite being slowed at the beginning of the season due to injuries.
As for how White is doing in practice, he is working with the team during the drills portion that the media is allowed to view. He also has a brace on his left knee, the one he injured last August.
Swift shed a little more light on how White is feeling at practice this spring.
“He told me the other day that he was mad at practice,” Swift said with a smile. “He just can’t wait to get back out there. He can’t wait to see what he can do for us.”
Swift isn’t the only Georgia running back to have high hopes for White. Former Georgia running back Tim Worley, who also missed time during his college career with an ACL injury, thinks that White has the right mentality to become the player he once was.
“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 come back with a full recovery and be the guy that Georgia recruited a couple of those years ago.
Related: Nation’s No. 1 RB Zamir White overcomes incredible adversity to become more than the next Todd Gurley
“He’s a great big guy, he’s tough. I want to see him get out there and play.”
The first game for Georgia is set for Aug. 31 against Vanderbilt. That game will be over a full year after White’s ACL tear and will likely the best first chance for White to make his Georgia debut.
Fans won’t have to wait as long to see Swift and some of the other Georgia running backs. The Georgia spring game is set for 2 p.m. on April 20. The game can be seen on SEC Network.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation