Chances are very good that Isaiah Crowell will miss Georgia football much more than Georgia football 2012 will miss Isaiah. This comment is coming compliments of the very fingers that typed, “This year Georgia will have another 1,000-plus-yard running back in Isaiah Crowell,” in the Bleacher Report article of June 20, just a couple of weeks ago.
Whoops! Guess I missed that one. Fortunately for Georgia, the coaches are thinking ahead in Athens. They picked up two top-notch running backs, per Rivals, in four-star commits Keith Marshall out of Millbrook High School in Raleigh and Todd Gurley out of Tarboro High School.
Gurley (6-1, 195) is a player that most resembles Crowell in running style. He’s a bigger, slashing runner but like Crowell, he lacks that extra gear with the super breakaway speed. Marshall (5-11, 190) has the extra speed and quickness of an elite tailback.
Of the two, Marshall arguably is the top running back recruit in the country. Additionally, Outback Bowl starter, Ken Malcome (6-0 226 Soph), who was named Most Improved Offensive Player after spring practice, is back. So is Brandon Harton (5-6, 174 Junior). Those two combined for 426 game yards last year. Also, joining in some at tailback is Kyle Karempelis (5-9, 180 Soph).
Merritt Hall (5-11, 216 Fresh) and Richard Samuel (6-2, 238 Senior) will be the two deep in fullbacks. Overall Georgia is much deeper at running back than they were last year. Even with the loss of Crowell, a potential SEC star, Georgia has enough depth and quality to overcome.
As always with younger guys, the biggest worry is pass blocking, especially blitz pickups and hanging on to the football. Georgia is well coached and they will teach these young guys technique-hopefully quickly.
On the other end of the spectrum is Isaiah Crowell. Here is another elite athlete that apparently has thrown away a fast tracked opportunity to star at a program known for such NFL running back talent as Hershel Walker, Terrell Davis, Tim Worley, Knowshon Moreno, Garrison Hearst, etc., etc.
I don’t know the young man personally. I can’t speak to his upbringing or what he had or did not have as he grew up. I just know that whatever his circumstances were in life, it was not an excuse to fail himself or his teammates the way he just did. Possibly, somewhere down the road, this will all work out to Isaiah Crowell’s advantage.
For now, congratulations to the new player in Georgia’s two deep tailback rotation. This year is looking to be a great one for the Bulldogs!