Dell McGee on running back Zamir White: ‘Expect a lot of big things out of him this year’
Dell McGee readily admits that D’Andre Swift heading to the NFL was a big loss for the Georgia running back room. Even though he wasn’t fully healthy to end the 2019 season, he still rushed for over 1,200 yards while catching 24 passes as well.
McGee is also confident in the replacements he has in his running back room for 2020, even if they are unproven to this point.
“We are recognized as RBU. With that being said, it’s a very, very high standard in our room which was established long before myself being here,” McGee said. “Our kids kind of take that personally and they show it every single day with the way they prepare and practice.”
For the first time since the 2011 season, Georgia doesn’t return a running back who topped 500 yards in the prior season. But the lack of proven production has dimmed the hype or potential of the room in 2020.
Georgia did get a chance to see what the future of the running back room would look like in the Sugar Bowl, with Swift hobbled and fellow running back Brian Herrien out for the game. Zamir White was given the lead running back duties and put up a career-best 92 rushing yards on 18 carries against the Big 12’s best defense in Baylor.
White is now expected to be the leader in the room, in part due to his lofty recruiting status as a former 5-star recruit. But White is also wanting to do his best to uphold the ‘RBU’ mantle.
“I have to carry on that tradition,” White said in a video produced by Georgia football in August. “I got to be the next guy up to keep that going. I just have to keep on working hard and follow my teammates and make sure the next guys up are prepared.
“I got to be that leader and just step up and just be that guy now.”
White ran for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. It was the first time in his Georgia career that he had a chance to play, as he’s had to overcome multiple knee injuries since his senior year in high school.
A second ACL injury in August of 2018 forced White to redshirt. Adversity though is nothing new for the running back from Laurinburg, NC., and McGee is excited to see how White does now that he’s come out on the other side of those injuries.
“That’s a very tough, tough feat to overcome but he’s a spiritual person and has all the faith in the world in our training staff and he has faith in himself as well so expect a lot of big things out of him this year,” McGee said.
With a greater opportunity now that Swift is practicing with the Detroit Lions, White has turned quite a few heads already. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken praised the offseason work White put in, and Georgia coach Kirby Smart has mentioned that White has broken off multiple long runs during Georgia’s first two scrimmages.
Georgia still has a lot of questions to answer as it pertains to the rest of the offense. The concerns at quarterback and wide receiver seem much more glaring than the running back position, even though Swift was the second running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Even with the lack of proven production, McGee is still excited to see what his running backs do this season. And White is a massive reason for that excitement.
“I love my room, I love my guys, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” McGee said.
Georgia football coach Dell McGee praises Zamir White
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