Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Michaux: Douglas turning heads at Georgia

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ATHENS, Ga. — Before spraining his knee and earning a few weeks off, Brendan Douglas was the biggest buzz coming out of Georgia’s preseason camp.

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Bendan Douglas, of Augusta, getting notice as UGA freshman.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Bendan Douglas, of Augusta, getting notice as UGA freshman.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound running back from Aquinas had coaches and teammates raving about his potential.

“Oh man, he’s just a workhorse,” fullback Quayvon Hicks said. “Never seen a kid that just runs so hard.”

“Oh yeah, that guy is a hard runner,” star tailback Todd Gurley said. “He’s a great player. .… He’s just going to go in there and run his hardest every play.”

“He can play,” tailback Keith Marshall said. “He’s very physical. He’s got a good low center of gravity so he has very good balance. He’s fast. I think he’ll be a very good football player.”

Then came perhaps the most enthusiastic gush of all – and a new nickname – from Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray.

“He’s a little ball of muscle is what he is,” Murray said. “He’s just shredded. He looks like Thor. That dude’s ripped.”

Thor was one that Douglas hadn’t heard yet.

“Every time I hear a superhero’s name I turn around because I think they’re talking about me,” Douglas said without a hint of conceit. “They’ve got a couple nicknames for me – the White Adrian Peterson; the White Hope.”

Well, not that it should matter, but Douglas happens to be a white tailback in a sport that has increasingly fewer of them at the higher levels. In a way, that made his performance
more noticeable to his peers.

“I’ve kind of had to prove myself a little bit more I think,” Douglas admitted. “A lot of people probably didn’t believe in me because I was white. But I’m just trying to show what I can do.”

WHATEVER DOUBTS anyone had melted away after the first Bulldogs night scrimmage in Sanford Stadium. Facing the first-team defense, Douglas led all rushers with 50 yards on seven carries. But the highlight was when he hurdled cornerback Shaq Wiggins.

“I was running on the offensive side of the field,” Douglas said. “Apparently they had been talking a little trash to Shaq the play before that and so it was the perfect timing, I think. He tried to go low on me and I knew it was coming and went ahead and jumped over him.”

Said Murray: “It was crazy. The whole offensive sideline ran on the field and went berserk.”

All of Douglas’ preseason efforts had him in tight competition with fellow freshman J.J. Green for the third tailback spot on the depth chart behind Gurley and Marshall until he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee less than two weeks before the season opener against Clemson. The UGA medical staff ruled out surgery. But Douglas is out of Saturday’s game and likely the home opener against South Carolina as well.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt isn’t thinking about redshirting Douglas, however.

“I think we still would like to see him play,” Richt said.

The head coach is certainly impressed with his late recruiting acquisition – especially his pass-blocking instincts.

“He has good vision and good balance and runs with power,” Richt said. “He’s got good speed and he’s a very, very good pass protector considering he’s a true freshman, And those are the things we look for as a coach. He did enough things as far as knocking people back at the end of runs where he got the players’ attention as well.”

Blocking was not something he was asked to do a lot at Aquinas, where Douglas typically had the ball in his hands. But it’s come fairly natural to him.

“I’ve never really been taught the techniques of blocking and never knew there was so much to learn about it,” Douglas said. “But they’ve been teaching me a lot of stuff about that and I’m get a lot better at it.”

Murray certainly appreciates it.

“One of our best blocking running backs right now,” Murray said. “He’s not afraid to stick his nose in, I don’t care who it is, and knock them right under the chin.”

DOUGLAS WAS EXPECTED to sign with rush-oriented Georgia Tech until the Bulldogs expressed a strong interest the week before signing day. A lifelong Georgia fan considering his father, Pat, played two seasons for the Bulldogs as a walk-on before joining the start-up program at Georgia Southern, Brendan jumped at the chance to play in the Southeastern Conference.

His older brother, John, played fullback at Auburn before finishing at Georgia Southern.

“It’s kind of crazy to think about,” Douglas said of competing in college football’s best conference. “I didn’t even think I’d be here a week before signing day. Now that I’m here it’s great and I’m ready to roll.”

When he does return to practice and gets cleared to play, Douglas is eager to make an impact any way he can.

“I’m on a lot of special teams right now,” he said. “That’s a good way for me to get on the field and show the coaches that I can play. Then slowly try to get some reps at running back if the coaches feel I’m ready for that. It’s all up to them.”

His Georgia teammates can’t wait for him to return.

“He’s worked his tail off and definitely deserves some playing time,” Murray said.

Said Hicks: “He’s everything you could ever ask in a kid. He listens. He takes criticism very well. He asks questions. Out of all our running backs, he’s made a big impression with the way he runs the ball, the way he listens, the way he just shuts up and runs the ball. He’s going to be great this year.”

The question no longer is if Douglas can make it, but how soon.

Comments (7) Add comment
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rebellious
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rebellious 08/28/13 - 12:57 am
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Great White Hope

I love it! I just hope his body can keep up with his spirit. Sometimes these kids want to do so well, they blow out knees or crack hips. they didnt mention his height and weight, but I hope his size matches his heart. For old Georgia, at least. For Brendan at most.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/28/13 - 01:04 am
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He's 5'11" and 202 lb. I was

He's 5'11" and 202 lb. I was in Toast Beverage last week and people were talking about him. I hope his knee is okay.

rebellious
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rebellious 08/28/13 - 01:46 am
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Thank You

Riverman. I agree I hope the knee recovers and stays healthy. Dang we sure needed him Saturday this and next.

Cool how AC posters find answers to questions. A know-it-all lot we are!

But then again, we are talking about the elusive Riverman.......

We're not worthy, we're not worthy....

Kidding, I promise.

lovingthesouth72
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lovingthesouth72 08/28/13 - 08:35 am
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Make us proud!

Making Augusta and Aquinas High school proud Brendan! We will pray your guardian angel keep you safe - Wishing you a speedy recovery as well.

bubbasauce
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bubbasauce 08/28/13 - 01:36 pm
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GO DAWGS! I can smell a

GO DAWGS! I can smell a National Champion on the way. It has been a long time coming.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 08/28/13 - 02:40 pm
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Height and weight

You didn't have to go further than the first words of the second paragraph to find his height and weight. Too soon? But thanks for reading all the rest of it. :)

Thomas Brown UGA
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Thomas Brown UGA 08/29/13 - 09:16 am
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Brendan Douglas

3-Star Rivals.com Recruit with Scholarship Offers from both Top Schools in-state, Georgia Tech and Georgia, Brendan Douglas runs the 40-yard dash in 4.46 is 6 feet and half an inch tall weighing 217 lbs, benches 400 lbs 31 times, squats 520 lbs, vertical leap 36 inches up there at the top on the team, had 7 offers including Georgia Southern University, and is actually considered a Fullback, as you might guess from his vitals. A very fast Fullback, but a Fullback nonetheless, although UGA has this gym rat listed at Tailback right now. We have Todd Gurley this season and next season, so we need Tailback and we have a great Fullback right now, too - Quayvon Hicks whom we also have this season and next season, and the season thereafter as well.

Brendan Douglas will play Fullback after Quayvon Hicks and get mixed-in there soon too. That is how I see it. He is our biggest Tailback, and slightly under weight size for Fullback as a 17-year old right now.

If you look at his pic http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-Brendan-Douglas-... Brendan Douglas can carry a lot more weight on that frame. Or, you could use him at Tailback.

Augusta Chronicle's Player of the Year as a junior.

As a junior ran for 1802 yards, 30 touchdowns and had 136 tackles.

Ranked # 5 Best Fullback in the nation this season, according to Rivals.com

It is wonderful having a full roster of 85 Scholarship Players again. Been a long time coming to get to this position where 3rd-teamers look this promising. Great too, that no surgery is needed on his knee. Sounds like a bruise from a young promising bruising running back - tailback/fullback.

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