Georgia should be the early SEC East — and, perhaps, playoff — favorite in 2021 because of how many key players are returning. Among them is quarterback JT Daniels, but the Bulldogs will also have a loaded backfield. The team’s top two running backs, Zamir White and James Cook, have each tweeted over the past eight days that they will be returning to Athens for next season.
White, a redshirt sophomore, announced his intent on Wednesday while Cook did the same back on Jan. 5 following the Bulldogs’ win over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl. White led the team in 2020 with 779 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Cook, the younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, had 303 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Both were blue-chip members of Georgia’s 2018 recruiting class. White was a top-10 recruit nationally and the No. 1 running back commit for the class, but his career was derailed early by two ACL tears, one in each knee. He rebounded in 2019 with 408 yards and three touchdowns as part of the Bulldogs’ running back rotation led by D’Andre Swift and Brian Herron. Cook has largely been a complementary piece with a career-high 45 carries this past season.
With the announcements, Georgia will bring back most of its skill position production from 2020. Sophomore George Pickens will lead a talented receiving group that should have a breakout year with Daniels finally available for a full offseason. Still, for all the excitement about what Georgia’s more pass-friendly offense might look like in 2021, the bread and butter of this program has been the running game. No matter what the offense looks like next year with Daniels entrenched as the full-time starter, the ground attack will be in good — and experienced — hands.
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