Georgia already has the deepest and probably most talented backfield in the country. And consider this: Bryce Love could have been a part of it too.
Love, the Stanford star running back and Heisman Trophy finalist, was recruited by Georgia from Wake Forest, N.C. And he seriously considered it in large part because of a family connection.
Keith Marshall, the former Georgia tailback and fellow North Carolina native, was and remains a close friend. Marshall’s younger brother Marcus — who ended up going to Georgia Tech — was Love’s best friend growing up. And Love’s own older brother was close with Keith Marshall.
Bryce Love referred to Keith Marshall as his “Godbrother.”
“So we all kind of grew up together,” Love said.
Love attended one Georgia game at Sanford Stadium — he couldn’t remember which one — to see Marshall play. And he would watch games on television.
There was also the strong pipeline from North Carolina to Georgia’s backfield: Marshall and Todd Gurley came in 2012, following a precedent established by Tim Worley. Another is on the way with Zamir White.
Love was rated a 4-star prospect in the 2015 class, ranked No. 227 overall in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Georgia only signed one tailback in that class, Tae Crowder, who ended up switching to inside linebacker. John Lilly, then Georgia’s tight ends coach, was Love’s main recruiter.
“I definitely considered it, for sure,” Love said of Georgia. “I mean my Godbrother and one of my best friends growing up, Keith Marshall, ended up going there. So I’m really familiar with the program. I grew up, I saw Todd play in so many state championship games in Tarboro. So I’m extremely familiar with that program, and I definitely considered it.
“But it was just the pull of Stanford. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.”
It worked out for Love, who this season as a junior has amassed 1,973 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Georgia, meanwhile, has had to be content with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who arrived a year ahead of Love, and freshman D’Andre Swift, not to mention sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield.
For Georgia and Bryce Love, it’s one of those classic recruiting stories that appears to have worked out well for both parties.