Forgotten Malcome Earns His Chance

ATHENS - When Georgia running back Ken Malcome breaks the first huddle Saturday against Buffalo, all eyes will be on him.

For Malcome, it's unfamiliar territory.

The redshirt sophomore almost didn't get this opportunity. Had it not been for Isaiah Crowell's dismissal from the Georgia team after his arrest in June, Malcome likely would be a backup for Georgia's season opener Saturday.

Malcome knows plenty about being a backup. After redshirting in 2010, Malcome entered 2011 buried on the depth chart behind true freshman Crowell, Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas, respectively. Injuries had relegated Malcome to the end of the bench, a spot few--including Malcome—would enjoy.

Then, midway through the 2011 season, Malcome decided enough was enough. He would announce his intention to leave the Georgia program, seeking a fresh start at a new school.

Who could blame him?

Even as a recruit, Malcome was overshadowed. He was a consensus four-star prospect and ran for nearly 130 yards per game as a high school senior at Southwest DeKalb. Still, he redshirted his first season at Georgia while Caleb King and Washuan Ealey took the bulk of the carries in Athens.

Then fans shifted their interest to Crowell, who picked the Bulldogs in February 2011.

Georgia fans thought they had their new bell cow at running back. There were no thoughts of Malcome, at least until he decided to leave.

But Mark Richt left the door open for the young back from Decatur, telling the media "If Ken came to me tomorrow and said, 'Coach I lost my mind. I'm sorry and I'd love to come back and compete here at Georgia,' I'd hug his neck and say, 'Come on.'"

We'll never know if Malcome got that hug, but he returned to the Bulldog program. Prior to his near departure, Malcome had carried the ball once all season for no yards against lowly Coastal Carolina. He ended that season with 42 carries for 174 yards and received his first career start against Georgia Tech.

But that wasn't enough.

When signing day 2012 rolled around, Georgia fans could only talk of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, two uber-talented backs from North Carolina, and throughout the fall, fans wondered how long it would be before Gurley or Marshall was named the starting tailback.

Now, Gurley and Marshall are looking up at Malcome on the depth chart, a place Malcome resided this time a season ago.

Malcome will be the first to tell the newcomers to relax and that their time will come. Until then, the time is Malcome's, and everyone will be watching.

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