Chubb, Michel relied on friendship to overcome ‘tough times’

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Date sent: 2017/11/23 09:30:33
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, for as stellar as the two have been over the past four years, wondered if the rigors of their first preseason were worth enduring.
Like any true freshman in the <a href=""></a> moment, the two – roommates then as they are now – pondered their football futures. The two five-star recruits, entering the 2014 season, were third- and fourth-string on the depth chart behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They weren’t accustomed to the physicality and harsh realities of college football. While the thought may have never been serious enough for Chubb and Michel to actually walk away from the game, those first few practices served as a humbling experience for a couple of players accustomed to praise and accolades.
“Every football player will understand that camp freshman year sucks. At one point, we didn’t like it. We wanted to stop playing football,” Michel said. “We were both going through it at the same time while grinding through it, pushing through it, jumping over that wall, because every freshman hits that wall.”
The friendship Chubb and Michel developed during the recruiting process, which spilled over to when they enrolled at Georgia, helped tremendously early on. Michel said the two running backs may have hit that initial wall, but had each other to help “climb that wall.”
Michel dealt with injuries as a freshman – as did Keith Marshall, to go with a four-game suspension for Todd Gurley. That thrust Chubb into the spotlight for a start against Missouri.
That was when the legend of Chubb was born, with the Cedartown native going off for 143 yards and a touchdown in a 34-0 win over Missouri. Chubb ran for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman and reeled off 745 yards and eight touchdowns through five games as a sophomore. On his first carry at Tennessee, Chubb ran for two yards before suffering a devastating knee injury. Michel filled in as Georgia’s starter from there and finished with 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore.
The two backs have gone on to have tremendous careers at Georgia. As it stands now, Chubb is in second place all-time in Georgia history with 4,469 rushing yards, which stands only behind Herschel Walker’s 5,259. Michel is in fifth place with 3,229 rushing yards, although the likelihood is high to advance to third by the time the 2017 season wraps up. Michel is only three yards behind No.4 Garrison Hearst (3,232) and 56 yards behind No. 3 Gurley (3,285) on the Georgia all-time rushing list.
It goes without saying that it is a rare feat for two backs to put up that kind of career yardage simultaneously through four years.
“It’s definitely impressive,” Chubb said. “It’s two guys who came in ready to give it all for this university. We’ve been doing it and it’s working out for us.”
Never in Georgia’s history has it had two <a href=""></a> players rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season. Chubb has already eclipsed this barrier with 1,045 yards. Michel, who has 818 yards, has, at minimum, three more games (Georgia Tech, SEC Championship, at least one bowl game) to total 182 and go over 1,000 for the second time in his career.
Chubb and Michel will go down as two of Georgia’s best running backs to have ever suited up for the program. But for as far as they’ve come, it’s not hard for them to forget the trials and tribulations they endured when they first came to Georgia together.
Fortunately for Georgia, the two friends pushed through that early rough patch together to eventually wind up as one of the best backfield tandems, if not the best, in program history.
“Before we were even able to have any success on the field together we went through the tough times,” Michel said. “It was like we were going to throw this football thing out the window. We both know what we can do. That friendship is what got us closer. This friendship is more important than us being competitors on the field.”

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