Unless you were hiding under a rock on Saturday afternoon, you would have been hard-pressed to miss No. 24 running hard for the Georgia Bulldogs. Washaun Ealey was the most explosive player on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and put some fans in the mind of that other No. 24.
Ealey entered the game when the Dawgs needed something to light a fire into their offense. An offense that, for the better part of two quarters, had been mired in futility.
Once he got in the game, he wasted no time in showing the Georgia faithful why he was one of the most highly recruited running backs in the State of Georgia last year—breaking off eight solid yards on his first carry and shifting the momentum back into the Dawg's favor for a time.
At the start of the season, Washaun Ealey was a question mark for the Dawgs: It was uncertain whether he would be able to play at all. There was some concern that his SAT scores would disqualify him from enrolling for 2009—he looked like he was headed to Hargrave Military Academy at one point.
Hargrave Military Academy, for those that don't know, is where many of the academic non-qualifiers for Georgia go to get their SAT scores up so that they can play the following season—they are also allowed to play football there without the threat of losing their eligibility.
Ealey did qualify, but once he arrived on campus he found himself in a log jam behind spring stand-out Carlton Thomas, anointed starter Caleb King, and the uber talented Richard Samuel.
Making matters worse, Ealey hyper-extended his elbow prior to the start of preseason practice and was unable to participate fully in drills—the setback had many thinking that he would end up being redshirted for the season.
Ealey continued to work hard and hoped that he would get an opportunity to showcase his skills and play a part in helping this Georgia team win ball games.
Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing in at 205 lbs., Ealey has been clocked at 4.4 in the forty and was a punishing runner at Emanuel County Institute in Twin City, Ga. Some have said that he is the best back to come out of that area since that other Georgia Bulldog great, Herschel Walker.
His style is quintessential Georgia. He likes to run tough between the tackles and hits every hole with great speed and power. There is no wasted motion in his approach and he fights hard for every yard. You will not see this kid crumble after first contact—he's a pile mover.
Many think that his size puts him at a disadvantage because of his running style, but they underestimate his strength and his ability to run through tackles and make quick cuts into open spaces. Once he finds a weakness in the defense, he knows how to exploit it and his top-end speed makes him dangerous once he gets beyond the first level of defenders.
If Saturday's eight carry, 35-yard (4.1 ypc), performance is any indication of what Georgia fans have to look forward to in the future from Washaun, then things may begin to look up in the rushing department—a spot that is sorely in need of help.
Before his entry into the game, the Georgia offense was non-existent. Neither Caleb King nor Richard Samuel had done anything to warrant even a mention. Their rushing totals combined were less than Ealey's altogether.
Even more to the point, he invigorated the crowd and gave the sideline something to cheer about in a game that was largely a disappointment from an offensive perspective.
Wearing No. 24 is no easy task for the true freshman; he has already said that he truly wants no part of the number once worn by current NFL running back and, former Georgia stand-out, Knowshon Moreno. He has said he intends to vacate the number once the season is done but, for now, he is just excited to have his shot at making a difference.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!