Why nation’s No. 2 RB Noah Cain still sees a possible future at UGA
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a good conversation with 4-star running back Noah Cain of IMG Academy in Florida.
BRADENTON, Fla. — Georgia signed the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 overall running prospects for 2018.
Can the Bulldogs top that haul in 2019? The odds, and basically all recruiting logic, says no. With a capital “N.”
That said, the only plausible way to do that would be to sign the nation’s top 2 backs in 2019.
Both of those gentlemen carry the ball for IMG Academy in Florida. It is also a pretty ironic situation that their position coach is Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. The former Auburn great knows all about splitting carries with an elite back. He did that on the SEC stage.
Williams shares that with Noah Cain and Trey Sanders. Cain ranks as the nation’s No. 2 running back and the No. 53 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite for this cycle.
“Everything he says to us is basically words of wisdom,” Cain said. “I was taught as a young kid growing up that when an older person speaks to you, you listen. Especially a coach. Especially a guy that has been on the road in front of me like Cadillac has. I listen hard to everything that comes out of his mouth. He tells us to have a sense of urgency in practice and always go hard. I listen to all of it.
“Why? Because he’s been a top-5 pick. He’s been the guy. He’s made millions of dollars in the league. It can only help me go farther and farther when I listen to him.”
Williams — now in his second year at IMG — is shrewd to share how he shared a big stage with the great Ronnie Brown. That duo led Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel resembled a 2017 remake of that double-barreled SEC championship backfield.
“He has brought that comparison to us,” Cain said. “We both compete against each other really hard and we feed off each other. Trey and I are really good friends and compete against us each other day. Coach ‘Lac always brings us really great knowledge about playing running back.”
How Noah Cain views the depth at UGA
Cain is not expected to choose UGA. Texas and Ohio State are the leaders among the reporter predictions on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
The Bulldogs are also chasing after 4-star back John Emery Jr. to go along with Sanders — the No. 1 running back and No. 7 overall prospect in the Class of 2019. Of the three, I’d say the chances for the program appear to be the longest with Cain.
But the conversation is noteworthy because Cain even considering Georgia shows the appeal of the UGA brand. He’s thinking of granting the Bulldogs an official visit after having already been to Athens earlier this year.
Huh? How? Why?
The thinking there might begin with the notion that juniors Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield would be seniors on the 2019 team. D’Andre Swift would be a junior next season. James Cook and Zamir White, the two heralded signees in 2018, would be sophomores.
Can UGA sign another elite running back from a lot that includes Cain, Emery and Sanders? Maybe.
Especially when one considers by the time 2020 rolls around the Bulldogs will likely have just Cook and White left off the 2018 depth chart.
A big 2018 could even lead to an NFL jump for Herrien or Holyfield, too. The flip side of that level of production might also lead to a transfer.
Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee has told Cain and Sanders he could still take two backs in 2019. Especially the right two.
Truth be told, the Bulldogs probably need six scholarship backs on their roster. That way no more depth chart challenges a la Chubb’s freshman and sophomore seasons (2014 and ’15) could rise up again.
Look no further than this spring. Injuries to Swift and White meant UGA had just two scholarship backs available for G-Day.
“Georgia with all their guys is still a realistic spot,” Cain said. “I know Georgia had some injuries in spring practice and signed some great backs in the last class, too. But I’m not shying away from competition. I’ve been at IMG [with Sanders] the last two years. Competition does not worry me. I just want to find my best fit.
“I want to find that fit that makes the most sense.”
What does UGA tell Noah Cain about the RB depth?
Cain brought up what he’s heard from McGee.
“I talk to Coach McGee and Coach [Kirby] Smart and those dudes at Georgia every week,” Cain said. “They tell me they are taking two backs in this class. They are always talking about me and Trey. There is nothing wishy-washy there. They always tell us the same thing coming in. Come in. Play early. We’ve got injuries at running back right now. There’s a possibility of making an impact if you earn a spot early.
“They really sell us on that. I’ve known Coach McGee since my freshman year. I’ve known Coach Smart a long time, too. That’s real talk for me there with Georgia. There is a real chance there for me.”
Hold up a second. Will Georgia really take two backs in the 2019 class?
“Yes, sir,” Cain said. “I think things will work themselves out by December. Coach McGee is just being upfront and honest with me. He’s not sugarcoating anything or trying to backdoor anything. Just honest. I love that O-line Georgia is building, too. There are a lot of great things that Georgia has to offer that would make it make sense for me to go there.
“I still have a little more time before I come out with a top 5.”
Do the Bulldogs have a chance to make that top 5?
“Yes sir,” Cain said. “I would say they really do. My parents love Georgia. My mom finally went up there over spring break and she had a great time. She has really enjoyed herself up there at Georgia.”
He’s not sure when his next trip to Athens will happen. But he says it will take place.
“I do plan on working out with Coach McGee up there this summer and getting back over there for sure,” he said. “I hope I can be lucky enough to get some work in with him. But I’m not just sure about the dates.”
What are the odds of landing Cain and Sanders in 2019? Or Cain and Emery? Or Emery and Sanders?
“There are a lot of good backs out there,” Cain said. “You really can’t get mad at a coach for going after the best guys in this class. You can’t get mad at a coach if you don’t commit to a school before the others do. We all understand that. Whoever commits there is going to go to a good spot. I’m going to make my decision in December and Coach McGee understands that.
“He’s told me the dudes he is going after. He told me about Trey and Emery. I know the other dudes he is going after besides me. He just keeps it all real.”
How does UGA use all that talent?
“Man, the SEC is brutal,” Cain said. “You have to have two workhorse backs and then a third back to keep everyone fresh and ready to go in that Georgia offense.”
While logic stands to reason that it would be another neat trick for UGA to land another top-5 back, Cain thinks the staff would like to add another elite duo in this class.
“Coach McGee has an eye for talent and he knows what he wants,” Cain said. “He’s been honest with me and told me if he doesn’t get what he wants in 2019, he will just go on to that 2020 cycle. That’s just my opinion on how he would handle that situation.”
If it happens, Cain felt Georgia, Miami and Texas offered the best chance to sign both of IMG’s prized backs this year.
Check out the latest edition of Before the Hedges
Monday night meant another edition of Before the Hedges on DawgNation’s Facebook page.
We had the chance to recap UGA’s recent scavenger hunt weekend and what that meant for running back and defensive line recruiting. Have you checked it out yet?
There was, as always, a few minutes to take questions from our show audience, too. The show also found the time for a foll0w-up on last week’s Prom Dawgs segment with the 2018 signees.
Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.