Chubb, Michel returning, and Smart’s second season just got better

November 12, 2016, Athens: Georgia tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel prepare to play Auburn in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia tailbacks Nick Chubb (left) and Sony Michel have decided to bypass the NFL draft and return for another season, a boost for the Bulldogs in 2017. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

It is Selling Season in college football. Coaches sell recruits on their program and the future. Agents sell potential clients on their NFL potential and income.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart first season didn’t go nearly as well as expected. But his ability to sell the masses on next season just got a lot easier. The Bulldogs, who ended the regular season with a home loss to Georgia Tech and will drag a 7-5 record into the Liberty Bowl in two weeks, announced that four starting players will bypass the NFL draft and return for their senior seasons. That includes the most important player of all: Nick Chubb.

Chubb, who was expected to be a Heisman Trophy candidate this season but often struggled behind a weak offensive line, suspect play-calling by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and perhaps injury, will return to the Dogs in 2017. Also coming back are No. 2 tailback Sony Michel and linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy.

This is a huge win for Georgia in general and Smart in particular. The fact that the school will give him at least three or four years to implement his program, recruit his own players and establish Georgia as contenders doesn’t dismiss the fact that this season has left some to wonder about his abilities as a head coach. Smart would have supported all four players going pro, but his team next season should be better off because they didn’t.

“I’m excited about the future of the Georgia Bulldog program, this means a lot to me and for our program that they all made this decision,” Smart said.

On offense, there’s no guarantee the line will be better next season but it certainly can’t be worse, quarterback Jacob Eason will be in his second season (and presumably better) and Chaney also should have a better idea how to use Chubb and Michel in Year 2.

On defense, the Bulldogs have the potential to have one of the SEC’s strongest units — assuming they can figure out how to stop Tech’s option.

Chubb and Michel returning is a little more surprising than Carter and Bellamy doing so. While both tailbacks saw their likely draft stock fall — with neither expected to go before the third round — most good running backs leave early because of the wear and tear on their legs. Backs have been devalued somewhat in the pass-happy NFL and teams are particularly cautious drafting players who have had a large number of carries.

But Chubb and Michel were convinced to stay, whether by past results, future expectations or both.

Chubb, via our Seth Emerson, said he had decided five days ago to go pro, then changed his mind: “It just didn’t feel right. I felt like if I needed to leave I’d feel it and be able to accept it and move. Something kept telling me: Nick maybe not right now. It’s not the right time.”

WalterFootball.com recently slotted Chubb as the seventh best running back in the draft (second or third round) and listed Michel 12th (third or fourth round). The commentary:

12/3/16: In 2016, Chubb has averaged 4.8 yards per carry for 988 yards with seven touchdowns. He has five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as well. Chubb was held out of the game against Tennessee with a leg injury, and while he has returned to the field, he hasn’t been the same this season. Chubb doesn’t quite have the speed and explosion that he had before his 2015 knee injury. Considering it is only about a year since he was hurt, that is understandable. Chubb is more than a player who runs well; he has displayed some nice blitz pickup at times. He also has flashed quickness, power, and the cutting ability to move the chains. Even at 80-90 percent, Chubb seems to remain a tough runner capable of hurting a defense.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said on a recent media conference call, “I don’t think Chubb or Michel has maximized his grade yet, and another year might allow that to happen. … If you’re happy being a third-, fourth- or fifth-round pick, you come out.”

Chubb and Michel thought otherwise.

Seldom is there positive news sandwiched between a loss and the Liberty Bowl.

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221 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Regarding the players that have left or are leaving the Dawg program. Those players are the players that some of us have referred to all year as losers. Commitment, dedication, buying into the process, and getting it right are terms they don't want to live up to in building a winning program. Smart demands that players get it right...not half right....not part of the time right, but every time right. If you don't buy into that process....leave!...and they are leaving.

DawginLex
DawginLex

I remember when this blog didn't suck but that ship has sailed

To and Ohio have made sure of that

AJC allowed it to happen

Congrats to the two trolls

Big Wally
Big Wally

@DawginLex Yep, those two have screwed up the blog tremendously.  Just a couple of keyboard kindergartners.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@DawginLex TO is so horrible other Tech bloggers can't even stand him.  Ohio has no friends other than TO.  I bet his dog can't even stand him.  LOL.

OH:IO
OH:IO

An entire weekend and no Liberty (toilet) Bowl promo.


Go figure.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO Doctors say the inability to keep up with time is a sign of insanity.   It's proven you are having problems with that issue.  Time to go see a doctor.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

9-2

Bowl season. Time to expose little ten and the little ten buckys per the norm.

FBS record

11am kick in Tempe that someone conviently forgot.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

TOHIO does FAU mean anything to you? Sweet loss in B ball.

We dribble this state and would crush OSU.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Nice win by our Birds!!!!!....Rise Up Cowboys!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Tuff Crowd but no like the good ole days. Then again maybe we didn't really have but these same 8 people however they had 140 different users names. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie No willie....those other 132 were dawg fans.....thank god they usually beat us or they might need therapy...hopefully they will pass OSU and your team in recruiting and get their IPF and all will be sunshine and lollipops again until they win another pre-season NC.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You forgot to address the part about changing user names. You know all about that, right, stinkshuh/gtcaryd?

Big Wally
Big Wally

ACC, always cheating conference.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally There's our resident little cull...now how much was that power bill the Ole Miss player wanted paid for his poor cold mommie? SEC...Suck Even at Cheating.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally You getting the banner ready little wally...another great recruiting year!...Lol

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Actually it is turning out to be a very good recruiting year.  Thanks for noticing.  I guess UGA is between your ears 24/7 as well as your spit swapping friend Ohio.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket Kirby knows how much $$ to put in those bags!...no 5 star linemen in years and soon as Kirby gets there....let me try it...BOOM!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket Is Ole Miss in the SEC?....under investigation?...i have said on here many times, cheating happens everywhere...lets talk UGA's NC winning swim Coach? lol

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Not from having a traitor on the staff giving plays to other teams, and other teams willingly taking that information and denying it - see Louisville.  Keep trying.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Clearly you don't.  Show me proof that UGA is cheating with this year's recruits. Otherwise, STFU loser.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket You have a pathetic season...lose to Vandy at home on HC...destroy Nichollback St. by a safety....and lose to "The Joke by the Coke" I think is what you morons call us and you have a chance at #1 class?....Really professor? BWAAHAAAAHAAA!!!! Your XMR supporters are saying it all over dawgnation...Mark wouldn't put anything in the bag but a devotional.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally and Urban Meyer used to coach at Florida and you are now on record of fully sucking up to him. 

P.S.  Petrino has been at Louisville 3 times. but thanks for playing.


Big Wally for the win!

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally You suck up to him so much when Ohio is on here, you tend to think he is perfect.  I didn't mean to upset you by pointing out your hypocrisy.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket Doesn't really matter lil wally...the entire Bama team could come to Athens and they would soon become irrelevant...tradition.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally But in your mind Bama must cheat also right?  So everyone but Tech cheats? You need to get out more.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket If the Bulldogs are irrelevant, by some kind of "tradition". How do measure the irrelevance of the Georgia Tech program, who loses to Georgia, traditionally?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket JK...do we have to go through this again? How many degrees does UGA offer compared to Tech, now go work on that and get back with me.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket You were originally saying ACC cheats...yet you humps continue to whine about the cheating at Auburn?...retort lil wally?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket @JKToole Reggie was probably a SA....we do have a few. not 75 % like UGA. Some of the transfers we experience are probably SA's that can't keep the grades up. Malcolm Mitchell admitted he couldn't read better than a 6th grade level when he came to UGA. Public schools don't make great students, parents do. And to MM credit he overcame rhjat and is a very succexxful young man in the NFL and writing children's books L think I read.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket I like the way he makes you all look silly. That and his team is loaded with great football history and it just kills you humps. Woody Hayes 5-NC oh that's right you guys beat them one year when they weren't NC.....lol, that evens things up!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Woody Hayes???

So you also suck up to disgraced/fired coaches?

Raise your standards?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

A pathetic season???

At 7-5???

That's pretty much the standard for you, isn't it.

If 7-5 is pathetic, what do you call 3-9?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

3-13 against an irrelevant program?

Like I said, raise your standards.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Yep, MM overcame "rjhat."

So maybe there's hope--even for you.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket Pal, you need to work on that. You're the echo chamber, flogging a dead horse. You're not even a Tech Grad. Just a waterboy. UGA offers an engineering degree - BFD.

Oh, and Medical and Veterinary Degrees.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket That sings cheating louder than anything junior....good grief, thought you were a educated "man"?