Throughout the last few years, we’ve seen a handful of Georgia running backs take center stage during the NFL Draft. Most notably, Todd Gurley was the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Following him, we saw the talented duo of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb go in the top 35 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Back in April, it was D’Andre Swift getting drafted by the Detroit Lions with the 35th overall pick. If you catch my drift, there seems to be a gold mine of talented running backs selected in the NFL Draft. We’ll see what happens with Swift in Detroit but it seems like it’s an easy transition for these former Bulldogs.
Next man up in Athens, Zamir White.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the redshirt sophomore is talented. After all, he was listed as a 5-star running back according to 24/7 Sports. Meanwhile, he was ninth ranked player in the country. With a plethora of scholarships on the table, he chose Georgia over Auburn, Clemson and Alabama.
It’s still early in his career so with only 78 carries to his name, there’s plenty left unseen. However, after watching three games, I feel confident that White could be one of the biggest climbers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Decisive slicer between the tackles
Through three games of watching White, I was instantly caught by his decisive running style. He slices up defenses with his ability to juke and cut on defenders with ease; however, he’s aggressive when doing so. This is what inspired me to do a film session on the talented running back.
Watching the play above, it’s a joy to see White run toward his blockers but once there isn’t an opening, he makes a slight cut to his right. As he emerges up-field, defenders swarm to him but he runs through their arm tackles and shows the contact balance needed to gain additional yardage. There’s a blend of aggressiveness and elusiveness that’s possessed by White for teams to fall in love with.
Using the next play above, you’ll see a blend of everything from White. It’s an unbalanced formation to the left by the Bulldogs. There’s an additional offensive tackle to the left. Once White gets the hand-off, he wiggles around his left tackle. Keeping his pad level low, he gets another block near the second level and then gets skinny before being met and brought down for the tackle.
Bounce to the outside
Normally, you want a runner that can go north and south. For White, he does that pretty well. In fact, you saw those on the examples above. Aside from that; however, you want a runner that can show his ability to get to the outside when the middle of the field is littered with defenders.
The play above is a nice zone run executed by the Bulldogs. Once White gets the ball, he shows the short area burst to avoid a defender as he crosses the line-of-scrimmage (LOS). As a linebacker (#11) attempts to tackle him after scraping over the top, watch how White uses his free hand to keep the linebacker off of him. This allows him to continue his path to the outside where he’s supposed to get up the sideline and run towards the end zone.
Slight hesitation with ability to absorb contact
The patience that White has when running is consistent. Aside from that, he shows this slight hesitation with efficient stutter steps to prevent him from being met by defenders quickly. Even when he’s met by defenders, he’s shown the consistent ability to barrel over or through defenders.
Watching the play above, White shows great vision as an opening happens right off the A-gap. He shows a good cut and then absorbs contact with ease. This simple run leads to a gain of 6 yards and this is what has helped him average a gain of 5.2 yards per carry.
Similar to the run above, White looks like he’s going to run through the A-gap. However, there’s a defender that emerges from the right guard and White does a nice job showing off his shiftiness. He explodes off his right foot and gets up-field to the second level where he barrels through the safety.
Toss play with good cut up-field
Getting the edge and up-field is the key to a toss play. For Georgia, it shows a tendency to do this toss play out of shotgun. From what I’ve seen with White getting the ball on this, it’s led to positive gains like the one you’ll see on the play below.
As the Bulldogs align in 12 personnel, both tight ends on the left side get out toward the sideline. The left tackle gets up to the second level near the numbers on the field. All three blockers get out in space and block the linebacker, cornerback and safety. Once the toss is made, White gets out in space and then cuts up-field behind the blocks that are made.
This upcoming season, we should see an increase in carries for the redshirt sophomore. This will give us a better idea of exactly what type of runner he can provide a team at the next level. Even only through three games, White is looking like the next Georgia running back that we’ll talk about during the NFL Draft process. With an aggressive style of running, he looks to slice defenses with that aggressiveness but also his blend of elusiveness. This should help him gain more attention and shoot up draft boards this fall.