At 5-foot-7, redshirt freshman tailback Carlton Thomas is the tiniest player on Georgia's football team.
But he's thinking big.
Given little chance to supplant Knowshon Moreno, the little guy from Frostproof, Fla., has held his own against Caleb King this spring and taken advantage of Richard Samuel's absence due to wrist surgery. Thomas has been the most elusive tailback according to Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, the most consistent according to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, and has repeatedly impressed new running backs coach Bryan McClendon.
"As long as he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to have every shot in the world to be the starting back here," McClendon said. "That's what I think motivates him, and I think it's possible for him to be the guy who comes out of the gate."
King, Thomas and walk-on Kalvin Daniels have been the lone healthy tailbacks. The Bulldogs went through their ninth practice Wednesday, resume workouts Friday and scrimmage for a second time Saturday.
Thomas admits being motivated by all the talk of King or Samuel succeeding Moreno. He has done something about that in practice and off the field as well, going from 170 pounds last year to 180 now.
Being that "change of pace" back is not what Thomas has in mind for this season.
"I feel like I'm a well-rounded guy," he said. "I feel like I can tote the ball 20 times. I'm sticking my head in this competition, and we'll see what I come out with."
Thomas would like to get closer to 195 pounds, which would leave him in the neighborhood of 5-8, 200-pound Thomas Brown, who started during each of his four seasons in Athens from 2004-07. That wouldn't be a bad comparison, said Thomas, who watched his share of Georgia games while in high school.
McClendon wants to make sure Thomas doesn't rush adding weight.
"You don't want it to where his body wouldn't be ready to carry it," McClendon said. "He has got himself in great condition and has got himself really familiar as far as what we're trying to do on offense, in the run game and in pass protection. That has allowed him to go out and play comfortably, and the more and more reps he gets, the more comfortable he'll continue to get and the faster he'll start playing."
Thomas is eagerly awaiting next Saturday's G-Day game, which will give him a first opportunity to "show my stuff" before Bulldogs fans.
McClendon will use that 15th and final spring workout to help formulate some kind of depth chart. Such a task could be difficult without Samuel and Dontavius Jackson having practiced, but he sees a benefit in some kind of pecking order.
"It will be in pencil and not in ink," he said.