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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Get to Know: Ken Malcome

It's been a few weeks since we last checked in with any of Georgia's incoming freshmen, so I figured it was time to get back into our "Get to Know" series. Next up: Running back Ken Malcome.

Malcolme played at Southwest Dekalb and was one of the top running backs recruited in the state. And while Malcome has earned comparisons to some impressive players on the field, it turns out he actually has quite a bit in common with another former Bulldog off the field. Read on for more details...

David Hale: I know you're an Atlanta-area guy. Did you grow up wanting to play at Georgia, or what was it that convinced you that UGA was the place for you?

Ken Malcome:
I'm a Georgia boy. I grew up loving Georgia because it's my home state. I had a cousin play at Georgia a while back. He played fullback -- Patrick Pass. I've bled Georgia for a long time now. But another reason was, once I met the coaches, I got a lot of chemistry with them and the football players, and that made me want to be a Georgia Bulldog right there.

DH: I know there are a handful of guys at Georgia with relatives who played in the NFL. What's that like for you having a cousin who played at Georgia and went on to play at the next level beyond that, too?

It feels good. I don't feel a lot of pressure, because nobody pushed me to be just like him. I'm my own person. But it's good having a good role model, and I can always say, 'My cousin played at Georgia, how about your cousin?' So that's a good thing.

DH: You mentioned the chemistry you had with the coaching staff at Georgia. Your position coach, Bryan McClendon, is only a handful of years older than you, and he was playing at Georgia just five years ago. Does it help having a coach like that who went through all the transitions you're about to undergo so recently?

He gets it. He's around 25 or 26 and he's not too far from us, so he can relate. He just knows what it's like because he played the game just a little while ago, and nothing's really changed. The chemistry we have, it's like a brother and brother. We can talk, I can text him any time I have a problem or a question about football. He'll call me right back. It's like a brother thing with Coach McClendon.

DH: Have you had a chance to get to know the other running backs -- Caleb King and Washaun Ealey -- too?

I actually did. I met Washaun during the summer his freshman year. Washaun has been real cool. Afterward I met Caleb about a month later, and we hit it off. We're from the same town, from Atlanta, so we have a lot in common. He tells me to get ready to ball, that it's a grind every day and just to listen to what the coaches are telling us and be focused. That's most important.

DH: Last year, Washaun came in under similar circumstances to you, with a crowded backfield and not much playing time available. In fact, he didn't even play in the first four games of the year, but he ended up leading the team in rushing. Does that give you some hope for this season that, even if things don't get off to a great start, there's a chance you could still make an impact this season?

Oh yeah. Even if Caleb King and Washaun have their spots, I'll come in and I'm trying to earn a starting position, even though I probably can't. I'm still going to work hard to get there, and I won't mind coming in on third- or fourth-and-1, trying to get extra yards. Anything to help my team win. I don't have a problem with waiting my turn. I'm going to come in and work hard and try to get that No. 1 spot. A lot of people say, he's stuck behind Caleb and Washaun, but I've never been a backup running back for long, so I don't know how it feels. I guess I'm going to feel it this year, but I'm still going to work real hard to get that No. 1 spot.

DH: Is there a guy you've modeled your game after or someone whose running style you'd say you resemble?

I'm not really sure because a lot of people say different things. Some people say I look like Herschel or Robert Edwards or Terrell Davis. So me, I'm thinking it's a combination of speed and power and determination.

DH: So did you have a favorite player growing up? Or do you have a guy you really like now?

I always like, for some reason, Noel Devine. I know he's a smaller back, but I always liked him. Right now, I like Mark Ingram. He's just determined to get that first down. But when it comes down to it, I'd probably say Terrell Davis or Herschel.

DH: This year wasn't the biggest recruiting class for Georgia, but there are a lot of local guys, particularly from around the Atlanta area. Have all of you guys stayed in touch and bonded as you've been getting ready to start your college careers?

Oh yeah we have. I'm most close to (fellow Southwest Dekalb product) T.J. (Stripling) and we've been close with Garrison (Smith) and Michael Thornton. One goes to Stephenson and one goes to Douglass, so they aren't that far from our school. We keep up on football and go out and hang out and stuff. We're real cool. We keep in touch and talk about how are you doing, you ready to come, you ready to be a Bulldog, how you training, stuff like that. We'll be ready to be there on May 31.

DH: That's just two weeks away. You getting nervous?

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm pretty nervous. It's not like I'm scared or anything, but just nervous that I'm going into a new environment and it's not going to be like high school anymore. I've just got to be ready to accept that challenge, get in there and stay focused.

DH: What do you feel are the things you're most going to need to work on once you get to campus?

I know I didn't do it a lot in high school, and that's my pass blocking. I rarely even blocked in high school, so it's going to be kind of hard for me. And quicker feet -- trying to hit the hole faster. I think I hit the hole pretty fast, but I can always get better. Work on my speed and strength and really work on my all-around game. I feel I'm good enough to play at the next level right now, but I know I can always get better.

DH: Obviously you've had a great football career in high school. Did you play any other sports, too?

Baseball and football.

DH: So are you a Braves fan?

I'm not a Braves fan, but I was an Andres Galaraga fan when he played for the Braves.

DH: What else do you do for fun besides sports?

I just like to hang out with friends and play some games. I watch a lot of TV. People don't know, but I still watch a lot of cartoons in my house. All my friends -- we're 18, but we still watch cartoons. Nothing's changed since we were younger.

DH: Cartoons, eh? Which are your favorites?

For adult cartoons, it's "Family Guy." But right now, I wake up in the morning, I turn on the "The Jetsons" or my old-school cartoons I used to watch a long time ago. Nothing's really changed.

DH: If you could meet one celebrity -- maybe sit down and have dinner with them -- who would it be?

I'd have to say Knowshon Moreno.

DH: I'm sure that could probably be arranged. What do you like about Knowshon?

I watched an interview with him on YouTube and he was saying, who's the sweetest girl you ever met, and he was talking about Patty Mayonaise. He was talking about the girl from "Doug." He still watches cartoons like we do. Just the way he talks, he seems like he's a real cool, down-to-earth person. He's not cocky, and he's got his head on straight. I think we'd be a real good connection.

DH: Well from what I know of Knowshon, I think that's pretty accurate. You could probably have dinner with him and it'd be hours before he mentioned football.

See, I like that.

DH: Well aside from athletes, who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My grandfather. He's a huge Georgia fan. When Georgia offered me, he'd always been looking at Georgia. He always has been there for me. He's taken me to camps, any school activity. That started when I was very young -- when I was four years old. He was my coach from 4 to like 13. So that's my biggest influence right there.

DH: OK, so two weeks left: What are you most excited for when you finally get to Georgia?

I'm excited about putting my equipment on and being a freshman at Georgia. Hopefully we can get an SEC championship as soon as I get there. But there's a lot to work on, and I just want to start real early. I want to get there and play my freshman year. I'm not really trying to redshirt. I want to get in there and I'm really expecting a good year. That's what I'm most excited about.

Many thanks to Ken for his time and answers. So what do you guys think? Do you expect Malcolme to push for some immediate playing time?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's with the random Andres Galaraga reference? "The Big Cat" might be a good nickname for Mr. Malcolme.