Two years after his commitment, hype and hope still exist for Zamir White
On June 27, 2017, Zamir White announced his commitment to the University of Georgia. It was a landmark day for White and an even bigger day for the Georgia football program.
White’s commitment jump-started Georgia’s 2018 recruiting efforts. Prior to his decision, Georgia’s 2018 class was ranked in the 60’s. By National Signing Day, it was the best class in the country.
White was one of the crown jewels of the class, as he ranked as the No. 1 running back in the country and the No. 9 overall player for 2018. But ever since White picked Georgia back in 2017, his path to the football field has been marred by setbacks.
At the end of his senior year — just weeks before he was set to enroll at Georgia — White tore his right ACL. The injury kept White out all of spring practice, but the expectation was that he would still be ready for the start of fall camp.
And he was. White was cleared to practice and was doing so last August. He was working in with the running backs, while also doing some special teams work. It was on punt team where White was working when he tore his left ACL, ending his freshman season before it ever even got into gear.
White spent all of the 2018 season rehabbing and trying to get healthy. By the time spring 2019 rolled around, White was able to do some work with the team in a limited capacity. But he didn’t even put pads on for Georgia’s spring game. He spent that day like he had all of 2018. On the sidelines in his No. 3 jersey.
And yet through it all, there’s still confidence surrounding White and what he might be able to bring to Georgia in 2019.
“Everybody’s just so happy for him just to get to this point,” Georgia running back D’Andre Swift said in April. “He works and rehabs so hard, we just want to see him play football again. We just want to see him back and play football again.”
The Bulldogs have good depth at the running back position as Swift and Brian Herrien both return. But given White’s status as a prospect, there’s a feeling that he could possibly take Georgia’s very good running game and turn it into something transcendent.
White also has given us a few sporadic updates on how he’s doing this offseason. His most prominent update came in May when he posted a video of himself working out with Swift and fellow running back James Cook. There weren’t any defenders working against White, but the fact that he’s cutting like he is in the video is a promising sign for his involvement in 2019.
— The Dawg Bark (@TheDawgBark1) May 3, 2019
Georgia coach Kirby Smart hasn’t offered much in terms of a firm update on White and where he stands regarding his comeback. The expectation is that at some point he’ll be cleared for contact in August and Georgia will go from there in terms of formulating a usage plan for the season.
“He’s right where he needs to be on course of the schedule for a knee injury,” Smart said after G-Day. “He does individual (drills), he goes out and does blitz pickup and walkthroughs, he catches balls. But he doesn’t do competitive contact.”
Georgia opens its 2019 season on Aug. 31 against Vanderbilt. By that point, it will have been over a full year since White’s second ACL tear. Not every knee injury is the same, but traditionally players have come back from knee injuries in less time. Georgia defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL in March of 2018 and was able to play in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl loss against Texas in January.
The Bulldogs shouldn’t need White to beat the Commodores, given the massive talent gap between the two. But seeing White at least carry the ball in that game would be pretty meaningful to him and his many supporters.
The hope would be to ease him into the rotation before upping his workload before some of the more important games. You wouldn’t drive a Ferrari 100 MPH if you’re just going to the grocery store, much like you wouldn’t want to give White an extensive amount carries in his first or second game back.
Given Georgia’s inexperience at the wide receiver position, the Georgia running game will be leaned on heavily in 2019. White very likely figures to be a key piece in that rotation. And while he may not end up being like the last Georgia running back to wear the No. 3 jersey — Todd Gurley — the hope of seeing him on the field this season has a number of people excited for White.
More Zamir White stories from around DawgNation
- Update on injury status of UGA running back Zamir White
- Closer look: Georgia football players photo gallery from Camp Sunshine
- Zamir White: Key source makes compelling case for a big comeback
- The one thing everyone is forgetting when it comes to Zamir White
- Georgia RB Zamir White looking swift, strong as he runs through full-pads practice
- Predicting a breakout player at each position for Georgia football