Georgia was tasked with rebuilding the backfield as Zamir White, James Cook left in the 2022 NFL Draft

Next season Georgia will enter the follow-up effort to its national championship without its first two appearances from 2021. In a week.

“This season has been full of excitement from start to finish, and bringing a national championship to Athens has been the ultimate reward,” White wrote on his Instagram page. “I am so proud and feel so lucky to be a part of this team…these are memories I will never forget and will surely last for a lifetime. It prepared me for this next step and I proudly announce that I am announcing the 2022 NFL Draft.”

White rushed for a best 856 yards and 11 touchdowns by 8.3 yards per carry last season, while Cook, the senior, added 728 yards and seven points. White scored 84 yards and a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 33-18 win over Alabama to bring their first National Championship to Athens since the 1980 season.

The Laurinburg, North Carolina, finished his career with 2043 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. With White and Cook headed to the NFL, Georgia has a big hole to fill in its backyard this season.

Reconstruction of the posterior field

White and Cook were the primary forces in the Georgian offensive system in Georgia. The duo combined for nearly 1,600 dash yards and 18 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry in 2021. In fact, White and Cook alone had more dash attempts (273) than Georgia’s attempt to complete passes (264).

While the former Top 50 Volunteers are in the NFL, Georgia has plenty of talented options to choose from. Kenny Macintosh, Kendall Melton and Daejon Edwards are super talents, each with no fewer than 49 rushing attempts a year. Dawgs also has a top 50 nationally re-enlisted Branson Robinson enter the program as part of the 2022 Class.

Star offensive tackle Jamaree Salyer has committed to the Senior Bowl, while starting guard Justin Shaffer is one of the seniors. However, the other three starting linemen are expected to return. Georgia’s recruitment, experience, and depth should accommodate a strong operating unit in 2022.

Draft questions for both

White was ranked first in relegation and the No. 9 player overall in the 2018 recruiting class, but he struggled to find a way to enter the field after tearing up his two ACLs in back-to-back seasons. He has fully recovered from injuries and is a key player in the rotation, but his injury record could become a concern when he enters the NFL draft. White is not among the top 150 players in the CBS Sports Prospect ratings. Getting some independent medical evaluation can help push it back.

For Cook, the question is likely more about sample size. While he finished second on the team in the rush and ran for 67 yards in the College Football Playoff National Championship, he had only 117 quick attempts prior to his first season. At the same time, less wear may be an advantage in the end.

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