ATHENS - Before Keith Marshall became a Georgia Bulldog, he did a bit more than just consider Clemson. At one point, he had decided to go there.
"The night before, I was going to Clemson," Marshall said. "But it just didn't feel right in my heart."
Marshall woke up the next morning and realized he preferred Georgia. He only told his family and two close friends and fellow recruits: Ronald Darby and a tailback named Todd Gurley.
"It was funny. Todd was one of the people I talked to. I talked to him for probably two hours before that night when I was making my decision," Marshall said.
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A month later Gurley also chose Georgia over Clemson, and the duo would go on to become one of the biggest stories of the 2012 season for the Bulldogs. They enter this season as probably the best tailback duo in the country.
They could have done that for Clemson, which Georgia faces on Aug. 31, but Marshall got the ball rolling with his late change of heart.
"I've said it before, I just didn't feel right," Marshall said. "It's a great place, great coaches, great people, but I knew Georgia was the place I loved so I had to go here."
Marshall called Georgia and Clemson "kind of similar," both in terms of the school and the football program. He came away with a positive impression of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, even after having to tell him he wasn't going to Clemson.
"He wished me luck," Marshall said. "That's why I really respect coach Dabo. Some coaches get mad and everything, he just wished me luck, said it was good to know (me) in recruiting, and we went our separate ways."
Their paths converge again in 12 days.