In a game filled with standout performances, Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell knows which player he’s most impressed with on the Georgia offense.
Junior quarterback Greyson Lambert went 24-for-25 with 330 yards and three touchdowns, setting the NCAA record for completion percentage and breaking the Georgia record for consecutive completions with 20.
It wasn’t him.
Sophomore running back Nick Chubb had 159 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in his 11th straight game with at least 100 rushing yards.
It wasn’t him either.
It wasn’t even Mitchell himself, who had eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
It was Sony Michel.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen,” Mitchell said. “He can play anywhere, any spot on the field. I truly believe he can play any spot on the field. Everything outside of offensive line and defensive line, he can play it.”
It is Michel’s versatility that has made him stand out for the Bulldogs this season and what makes him such a valuable asset on a team that has a plethora of playmakers at both the receiver and running back positions.
Michel finished Saturday’s 52-20 blowout win against South Carolina with just eight carries, but he made the most out of them, netting 51 yards and a touchdown. As a pass-catcher lined up both as a true receiver and catching balls out of the backfield, Michel nabbed three more touches, 32 yards and two more touchdowns.
“Obviously he can catch it out of the backfield, he can get out as a receiver and catch the ball,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He’s an outstanding running back, he’s a great pass protector, he’s one of our better special teams players."
“He can do a lot of different things and that’s what makes him special. He’s a great athlete,” senior tackle John Theus said. “When you get the ball on his hands he makes plays. To have him out there on the team is awesome. To be able to line up anywhere, it creates mismatches with the defense. That’s what makes him good. I’m glad he’s on my side.”
But it’s not just his 289 all purpose yards through three games, that makes him impressive, or even the fact that the running back came into Saturday’s game leading Georgia in receiving yards and second in rushing yards.
It’s the way that he does it.
Case in point, in the first drive of the second half, Michel caught the ball out of the backfield on a short screen. Facing a tackle, he juked one defender on the sideline and trucked another, dragging him into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.
“It was just a little dump pass and I had a one-on-one, stretched him out a little bit,” Michel said. “(I) just seen another opponent I had to make miss.”
That play was replicated almost exactly on Georgia’s next drive, with another impressive juke for an 11-yard receiving touchdown.
This touchdown was his third and final of the game. At that point, he had just seven touches combined.
“He’s a bruiser,” Chubb said. “He knocked some guys out tonight.”
But as good as Michel is and was on Saturday, the one person that wasn’t impressed was Michel.
And that’s just who he is.
“I’m kind of hard on myself so I’d say there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Michel said. “I did OK.”