On this day in 2017, Georgia landed a commitment from Zamir White. It was a huge moment for the program, which was coming off an 8-5 season and had a recruiting class that ranked in the 70’s at the time of White’s commitment.
White, the No. 1 running back in the country, a 5-star player and a top-10 overall player in the class provided a huge jolt of excitement in the program when he made his commitment on his mother’s birthday. Georgia went on to end up signing the No. 1 class in the country for the 2018 cycle. Similar success also came on the field, as the Bulldogs won the SEC and played in the national title game.
With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel moving on to the NFL, there was a path to early playing time for White to pair with D’Andre Swift. But in November of his senior season, White ended up tearing his ACL. That didn’t rule him out for his freshman season, but it meant that he would spend the spring rehabbing in hopes of being ready early in the 2018 season.
And White cleared those hurdles. He was practicing with the team in August, participating in punt drills. Then White tore his second ACL. His freshman season was over before it ever began. And the hyped-debut of White would be pushed back at least a year.
That debut finally came against Vanderbilt to open the 2019 season. As he made his way onto the field, he was meet with a roar from the fans that were bellowing his name.
White had a run in that game that was served as a good metaphor for his career to that point. White made his way through the Vanderbilt front seven and found himself in open space. He looked as if he was about to make a long touchdown run and really excite the Georgia fan base.
But White was caught from behind and the ball squirted out from his hands. The run went for just 29-yards instead of a touchdown. It proved to be the longest run of his freshman season, as White occasionally flashed, but never fully announced his presence.
The Georgia running back finished his freshman year with 408 yards on 78 carries. He did get a chance to show what he could do as a lead running back in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl victory against Baylor.
With Swift limited and Brian Herrien out for the game, Georgia made White the lead running back. He finished with a modest 92 yards on 18 carries. Not bad day, not a great one either. But White once again flashed, showing his power, balance and speed with a key second-half touchdown for Georgia.
-White runs it in from 13 yards out
-Georgia makes the lead 25-7 over Baylor
— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) January 2, 2020
Now with Swift and Herrien off to the NFL, White is in position to be Georgia’s top running back. That player has usually been a productive one, as the Bulldogs’ leading rusher has topped 1,000 rushing yards in each year dating back to 2012.
Because of White’s pedigree and Georgia’s history with running backs, the hype is already building once again for the former 5-star prospect. White has received early hype from the likes of ESPN’s Cole Cubelic and FOX Sports’ Urban Meyer.
MY top 5 SEC running backs for 2020: pic.twitter.com/e7b4qS1OhE
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 20, 2020
It’s been a long-time since White has been the player that Georgia got back on June 27, 2017. He might not ever be that player again, given his multiple ACL injuries. But as Chubb showed, knee injuries do not derail your career as they have in the past.
And White showed enough promise in 2019 that a bigger 2020 could become a reality. Through all the hype and trails, White continues to work hard and try and put himself in a position to help Georgia thrive.
The 2020 season will offer a real chance for White to fully remind everyone why he was the nation’s top high school running back. It will also give White a chance to validate all the promise he once had and the excitement that Georgia fans have long had for White.
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