Dynamic duos at LB and RB lead Georgia
On Saturday, Alabama will have to deal with Georgia’s two dynamic duos—one on each side of the ball. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, along with linebacker/edge rushers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd, are looking to keep the Bulldogs’ perfect record clean through Week 5.
The best-known running back is the 5-foot-10-inch, 220-pound sophomore Nick Chubb. The patient, powerful, and explosive back burst onto the scene last year when Todd Gurley was out due to suspension (and then injury), garnering SEC Freshman of the Year honors while running for 1,547 yards, 16 touchdowns, and a +18.6 PFF grade. He also forced 63 missed tackles, a third-ranked elusive rating of 108.5, and a fourth-ranked 3.7 yards after contact.
Chubb has picked up right where he left off, with 599 yards on 8.4 yards per carry and seven touchdowns—good for fifth nationally in yards and seventh in yards per carry, to go with his +5.3 grade. In addition, Chubb is currently sixth in elusive rating (106.3) and averaging 4.1 yards after contact as he runs behind UGA’s experienced offensive line that has all five starters with positive grades, and a collective +26.0 grade.
The second back is sophomore Sony Michel, the more highly-touted recruit of the two out of Plantation, FL. Michel has become one of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s most versatile weapons, lining up in the slot (10 percent of his 72 snaps) in addition to the backfield, looking to create mismatches wherever he goes. After a freshman season slowed by injuries, Michel is off to a fast start (+5.4 grade) and complements Chubb perfectly. He currently has 371 yards on 40 touches, or 9.3 yards per touch, including an 18.5 yards per catch average and seven total touchdowns.
As good as Chubb and Michel have been on the offensive side of the ball, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd have been more dominant on the defensive side.
Jenkins is currently PFF’s No. 1 3-4 OLB (+17.6 grade) and sixth nationally among edge rushers. The steady, four-year starter has taken his game to another level thus far, with three sacks and 15 total QB pressures, landing on PFF’s first edition of the college dream team. On multiple occasions (17 snaps in 4 games), Jenkins has even lined inside as a defensive tackle, as UGA looks to disperse its best pass rushers however they can.
While Jenkins brings a consistent and dominating physical presence, LB Leonard Floyd brings unparalleled speed and athleticism, and just as Michel is UGA’s versatile offensive weapon, Floyd is that for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He lines up both inside and out, including covering receivers in the slot (eight snaps in four games), which he did perfectly against Vanderbilt’s Trent Sherfield (+5.6 grade). Floyd is currently PFF’s third-ranked 3-4 OLB (+16.6) and eighth nationally among edge rushers with three sacks and 12 total QB pressures.
While it’s still early, and this weekend’s showdown with Alabama is critical to the ultimate goal, Mark Richt and UGA appear to have the right mix of talent to reach the pinnacle. As long as Greyson Lambert (+5.7 grade over the past two weeks) keeps progressing and provides consistent QB play, the dynamic duos above can finally lead the Bulldogs to a place at the SEC and national royalty table.