UGA football coach speaks about development of Middle Georgia players
Zamir White’s second recovery process from a torn ACL is coming to an end. Georgia’s redshirt freshman running back has yet to see the field as a Bulldog, but the formerly-touted recruit is a step closer.
Kirby Smart spoke to media at the Georgia Caravan event in Macon on Monday evening, and confirmed White’s status for the team’s preseason practice period. Georgia begins preparation for the upcoming season at the start of August.
“He will be past the time to come back (when camp begins),” Smart said. “He will be cleared for that. Obviously, he’s got to be cleared through the protocol, testing, go see the doctors and get cleared. Based on ACL repair, he will be past the time for that.”
White is finishing a rehab process through a significant knee injury for the second time. His first bout with ACL woes came as a senior at Scotland County (Laurinburg, North Carolina) High School midway through his final season. He made his way to Athens, rehabbed with sports’ medicine director Ron Courson and suited up for preseason practices in 2018.
Then, it happened again. White suffered the injury in a Georgia practice uniform during a fall scrimmage. It was a devastating injury for White, especially with a status as the nation’s No. 1 recruit out of high school. His determination to return to the field, however, hasn’t wavered and White is readying for an opportunity.
White didn’t see contact in the spring, Smart said, but did work with running back coach Dell McGee’s position group in other capacities. He also engaged in running, catching and cutting drills with Courson.
“Everything’s been good,” Smart said. “He’s rehabbing with Ron. Ron sends me video of him running, him doing things but it’s all the things you guys have seen so it’s not like I’m getting things I haven’t seen before. As far as his attitude, his strength, all his testing, he’s right where he should be and doing what he should do.”
White joins a Georgia backfield that is known for its talented depth. The Bulldogs lost Elijah Holyfield last season after he declared for the NFL draft as a junior, but it became a reloading situation with the other running backs present.
Smart highlighted Brian Herrien — who had a strong performance in the G-Day spring game after a chance to showcase his talents in the Sugar Bowl loss — and sophomore James Cook. They’ll serve as complements to lead back D’Andre Swift, and White essentially becomes an addition to a 2019 recruiting class that ranked amongst the best nationally.
Also in the recruiting class, Georgia added four-star Kenny McIntosh. Outside linebacker Walter Grant was also spotted at running back during the spring, but Smart said his position will depend upon where McIntosh fits into the offensive scheme.
“I’m excited about the guys we’ve got because there are a lot that we haven’t gotten to showcase their talents,” Smart said. “You’ve got those young guys coming in to compete. I’m excited about the kids we have at running back. I’m really hopeful they can dominate in the special teams department kind of like the receivers did last year.”
Once White steps into the huddle wearing the red-and-black, however, Georgia fans are set to experience a moment they’ve long-awaited. White follows the likes of Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Some say he fits in the same category.
“He’s an electric guy who can fly at 220 pounds. Zamir has the ability to run into you, around you and catch the ball out of the backfield,” Scotland County head coach Richard Bailey told The Telegraph after White’s first injury. “He’s at the upper echelon of people who can do these things. Moving forward, there’s a chance for him to be a Heisman Trophy winner one day.”