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Zamir White Ready for More for UGA

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Uncertainly under center only makes Zamir White more valuable as game one approaches.

The understandable news of quarterback Jamie Newman's decision to opt out of this upcoming fall at Georgia is now the leading storyline as the Bulldogs prepare for the start of the 2020 season. Many had declared Newman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, the premier quarterback in the SEC. He remains a talent with first round NFL Draft potential. Newman's departure means Southern Cal-transfer J.T. Daniels or former Ohio State-commit D'Wan Mathis will likely step into a starting role for the summer favorites in the SEC East. 

Whoever steps in under center will have one of the nation's best alongside. 

While the spotlight is undoubtedly now on the likes of Daniels and Mathis, not to mention new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, it may soon be running back Zamir White taking center stage. He rushed for 408 yards and three touchdowns as a redshirt freshman a year ago, earning the first start of his career in Georgia's win over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. That night, White, fully recovered from a 2018 knee injury, ran 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was an impressive showing for the former five-star recruit.

Smooth, strong and decisive in New Orleans, White looked the part of the next-in-line at Running Back-U. That distinction is one the rising star has taken to heart this off-season, embracing the expectations that come with the position he plays at the program he plays for. D'Andre Swift, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have all been top 35 NFL Draft picks over the past three years alone. Georgia has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher seven of the last eight seasons, with Todd Gurley averaging 99 yards per contest in ten games as the one near miss.

In addition to following in the footsteps of legends in the offensive backfield for the Bulldogs, White joined Gurley and Keith Marshall, another former pro, by following their paths from North Carolina to Athens. Those recruiting trails are now marked with red clay. Even before the start of what is expected to be a banner season for White, he is already part of history. At 6'0'' and close to 220 pounds, White appears ready for a more leading role. After all, his nickname is "Zeus". 

For all of the roster attrition from the year before and all of the projections regarding Monken's offensive scheme, don't expect Georgia to wander too far from White. Though the Bulldogs are talented at the quarterback and receiver positions, Georgia has a proven brand of physical football that Monken, coaching Chubb in Cleveland, knows well. Behind yet another massive offensive line, White is yet another prototype at the running back position. The anticipation, for a player who averaged over 5.2 yards per carry and a team that ranked in the top five in the SEC with over 185 rushing yards per game, is more of the same. 

Whether Newman, Daniels or Mathis was atop the depth chart at quarterback, White was going to be featured.

The last time White was the starting running back for a full season, he rushed for 2,086 yards and 34 touchdowns in 11 games as a high school senior. He averaged 14.1 yards per carry. Fittingly, Georgia appears to have another superstar at its glamour position. After showing some of his potential in the Sugar Bowl, White is now soon to burst onto the national scene. Like many of his high-profile predecessors, White may very well soon become one of college football's best at his position.

Uncertainly under center, as Monken makes some adjustments ahead of kickoff, only makes White more valuable as game one approaches. The same can be said for the versatile playmaker James Cook and others.   

Georgia may be somewhat unsettled at quarterback, but the Bulldogs have the nation's top-ranked defense, talent at every position and a focal point at running back. Amidst offensive questions, White is ready to become an exclamation point as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports