Isaiah Crowell is the most important commitment for the Georgia Bulldogs in the last decade
Head coach Mark Richt knows it. He won’t admit it, but he knows it just like you and I know it.
For months, Crowell’s name has been synonymous with the “dream team.” And despite the pessimism of some—Georgia Bulldogs Football: Finding It Hard to Believe in the "Dream Team"" target="_blank">cough, cough—his commitment rounded out a recruiting class that was one of Richt’s finest and gave the head coach something even more vital to his success at the school:
A week ago, Georgia was a team in recession and Richt’s job security simmering slowly over the fire of restless fans and administrators.
Now, after a top-10 recruiting class and the successful completion of the oft-referenced “dream team,” it’s all an afterthought.
Whether the “dream” Richt referenced was a team capable of winning a championship or one that can boost his ever-deflating performance ratings is irrelevant. For it to become a reality, a commitment from the Carver-Columbus product was imperative.
While the forthcoming season only recently was thought to be a make-or-break campaign for the head coach, that is no longer the case.
By winning in February—as he did by luring the likes of Crowell and stud defensive end Ray Drew to Athens—Richt has widened his margin for error and given himself a chance to turn this class into a winner.
Whether he will or not remains to be seen.
After all, it’s not like he hasn’t pulled in his fair share of stud classes. The 2011 class was just his third best in the last five years, according to Scout.com (Georgia was No. 4 in 2009 and No. 5 in 2008).
So, in that regard, we should be cautious observers over the coming months and take with a heaping spoonful of salt each proclamation that Georgia’s darkest days are in the past.
Despite the national praise directed toward Crowell, there is still the chance he is nothing more than another Caleb King—talented, but ultimately disappointing.
As ever, it will come down to whether Georgia coaches—namely Richt—can take an extremely talented athlete and mold him into the next superstar, both on and off the field.
They must prove that winning at Georgia has not become an off-season ritual of beating out rival programs for top-tier recruits and still struggling to maintain conference relevancy.
Has Richt regained control of the program enough to do that successfully?
Only time will tell.
And thanks to Crowell, that’s now something Richt has a little more of.
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