ATHENS, Ga—The troubling football career of Washaun Ealey at the University of Georgia ended on Monday after receiving an unconditional release to transfer.
“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by Georgia. “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”
In the last nine months, Washaun Ealey found himself suspended from the Georgia football team twice.
In August 2010, following an arrest, Ealey was suspended and missed the season-opening game against Louisiana-Lafayette. In February of 2011, Ealey was suspended from team activities for failing to report for a punishment run.
He then missed the majority of spring practice and G-Day following a hamstring injury.
While Washaun was a problem off the field, he wasn't one on the field. He led the Bulldogs in rushing during the 2010 season and finished his sophomore campaign on 811 yards from 157 carries and 11 touchdowns.
In spite of his success in 2010, Washaun wasn't guaranteed a starting spot this year, due to the impending arrival of Isaiah Crowell, the top running back recruit of the 2011 class.
The news of Ealey's transfer is not surprising at all, and it's no coincidence that this announcement followed the conclusion of the spring semester at the University of Georgia.
There is no other way to describe the transfer of Washaun Ealey other than addition by subtraction.
While he made great plays on the football field, he was a problem and liability for this football team off it.
Following the announcement, junior inside linebacker Christian Robinson tweeted, “Character, character, character.”
While I do not know if the tweet was in direct relation to the announcement, it would not surprise me at all if it was. The recent actions by Ealey are evidence of character issues, and that is something that Mark Richt does not tolerate.
With Washaun gone, the aforementioned Crowell will take the reigns of the backfield alongside redshirt freshman Ken Malcome, senior Caleb King and junior Carlton Thomas.
Although the weight has been thrown on the pack of running backs who will receive the ball from quarterback Aaron Murray, the biggest question mark on the offense remains at the offensive line position. Regardless of who you're handing the ball to, if the offensive line doesn't block, there will be nowhere for the running back to go.
While I wish Washaun the best of luck with wherever he goes next, I realize that this move was a step in the right direction for the Georgia football team.
Following the announcement, Georgia became a better team and took a step closer to playing in the Georgia Dome twice, this upcoming year.
Many Georgia students will be leaving Athens for the summer break this week, but one former Bulldog will be leaving Athens for good and the football team will be better for it.
You can follow Mike Reiter on Twitter @Mike_Reiter