Happy Hump Day, DawgNation! UGA running back Keith Marshall announced on Tuesday he will not return next season. The end of his UGA career is near, but he’s ending it on his own terms.
Marshall came to UGA as the nation’s No. 1 running back recruit and immediately became part of the “Gurshall” tandem. He blended with freshman Todd Gurley and created several highlights, while gaining 850 total yards and scoring nine touchdowns.
Maybe those memories seem so fresh because they are the only ones UGA fans have of the former 5-star. After tearing his ACL in his sophomore season, Marshall never was the same. It’s an awful thing to see happen, but also serves as a reminder that anything can happen in football.
Recruiting rankings don’t guarantee success. Nick Chubb and Gurley were the lower-ranked prospects out of a pair of heralded backs when they arrived at UGA. Plenty of factors come into play at the college level. Just because Kyle Davis is considered the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver doesn’t mean he will have a better career than 3-star wideout Grant Holloway.
Marshall’s career should be remembered for the success he had. It should also be a reminder that nothing in recruiting is guaranteed.
Happy 18th birthday Jacob Eason
5-star quarterback Jacob Eason turned 18 years old on Tuesday but had something else to celebrate as well. The UGA commit was honored as one of the top players in the nation, and is in the running for something even better.
His recognition is well deserved. Eason has guided Lake Stevens High School (Wash.) to a perfect 11-0 record and into the second round of the state playoffs. Facing his toughest competition to date, Eason played possibly his best game of the season last Friday. You can see all of the great highlights from that game here.
Will there be a surprise guest at Saturday’s game?
Isaac Nauta, a 5-star tight end from Florida’s IMG Academy, caused a stir when he tweeted he may swing by UGA for Saturday’s game. This is big news for UGA who would love to get Nauta back on campus. The nation’s top tight end took an official visit to UGA on Oct. 3 for the Alabama game. He’s also been on official visits to Alabama, Michigan and Ole Miss. He has one more official to take this month to TCU.
An appearance by Nauta at Saturday’s game would give UGA another chance to impress. After his official visit, Nauta’s mom had great news for fans. 5-star tight ends are not common, and another visit like his last one would work in UGA’s favor. Eason is another big advantage for UGA. The two 5-stars are friends and could give defenses fits at the next level.
The 6-foot-4, 237-pounder was also honored by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Tuesday. He was presented with the jersey in a special ceremony.
Might have to slide by the Georgia game this weekend
— ICE ❄️❄️❄️❄️ (@inauta18) November 18, 2015
— USAAAB Tour (@SelectionTour) November 17, 2015
Top 2017 commit took a visit to UNC
The first commitment for UGA’s 2017 class visited North Carolina over the weekend, according to Kipp Adams of 247Sports. Bailey Hockman, a 4-star quarterback out of McEachern High School, committed to UGA back in June. Should fans be worried about his visit?
At this point, it’s not something worth putting much stock into. His close friend and teammate Tyler Clark recently committed to UNC and there’s a good chance Hockman was with him.
For those wondering if the arrival of Jacob Eason has Hockman worried, he has said that isn’t a factor in his decision. Hockman has told DawgNation that competing against a player like Eason every day would make him better.
North Carolina’s No. 1 junior receives offer
Justin Foster, a 4-star linebacker for 2017, announced an offer from UGA on Tuesday. It was Foster’s 16th offer, according to 247Sports, and his sixth from an SEC school. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder is rated as North Carolina’s No. 1 prospect and as the nation’s No. 4 outside linebacker for his class.
UGA is targeting several junior linebackers, including Markail Benton, Anthony Hines and Nate McBride. Linebackers are a key part of Jeremy Pruitt’s defense, and it seems UGA is looking to add some for 2017. There are currently just two commitments at that position in this year’s class.
Blessed to receive a offer from the University of Georgia ?
— Justin Foster (@Fosterkiddddd) November 17, 2015
Another top target will be at the game on Saturday
UGA could end up having a little unexpected recruiting buzz this weekend for the Georgia Southern game. Nauta will have company if he shows up. William Poole III, a 2017 5-star cornerback according to Rivals.com, tweeted he will be at UGA for the game.
Poole has visited UGA several times, most recently for the Alabama game, and enjoys spending time at the school. In a previous interview with DawgNation.com, Poole said UGA was his “most preferred” school, but said he had no leader. Poole plans on releasing a Top 10 on New Year’s Day, then a Top 5 after the summer. He will commit at some point in 2016.
— William Poole III (@__WP3) November 17, 2015
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.