Georgia Football: Was Isaiah Crowell the Best Bulldogs Freshman This Season?

Brian JonesContributor IDecember 6, 2011

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 12:  Isaiah Crowell #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes upfield against the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s now well known that Isaiah Crowell was named as the SEC Freshman of the Year by the Associated Press.

That may shock some people that follow the Bulldogs closely, but if an outsider was looking at his numbers and did not know anything about his up-and-down year, then it’s not really that much of a surprise.

But here’s something to think about. Crowell was the most celebrated member of the “Dream Team” because he was supposed to be the guy that would make the biggest impact. Rushing for 847 yards as a freshman should be commended, but based on the way the rest of the young players played for the Bulldogs, was he even the best freshman on the team?

Last year, Marcus Lattimore won SEC Freshman of the Year because there was no other freshman that made a bigger impact on a team than Lattimore.

When Crowell signed with the Bulldogs in February, everyone thought he was going to have the same impact as Lattimore.

Despite the injuries, suspensions and other things to keep him off the field, Crowell had a solid season and came close to rushing for 1,000 yards, which is not bad for someone who really started part-time.

But as the season progressed, the coaching staff and fans realized there were more freshmen making plays and they were starting to get noticed by opposing teams.

The first player that comes to mind is Malcolm Mitchell. He showed he could be the deep threat for Murray to count on and could be the next A.J. Green if he continues to work hard and do the little things right.

Another young player that made a good amount of plays is Michael Bennett. If Mitchell could not make plays on the outside, Bennett could do it and even try to outdo Mitchell. The best example of this was during the Auburn game when Bennett made a diving touchdown catch. That play will go down as one of the best plays in the Auburn-Georgia series.

Chris Conley is another wide receiver that came on strong down the stretch. He had 16 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed he has the ability to stretch the field if the Bulldogs needed to make a big play.

Other “Dream Team” members that saw a lot of playing time were Ray Drew, Nick Marshall and Corey Moore. Those three did not have the same impact as Mitchell, Bennett or Conley, but looked good while they were on the field.

Crowell had a good season. Not great, but a good season. The one thing he needs to do is be mentally tough. There are always injuries to all players in the college level. If he can fight through the injures and stay out of trouble, it will be fun to see him run the football the next two years.

But it will be really exciting to see players like Mitchell, Bennett, Conley, Drew and Marshall play because they will be better players next season.

Looks like Richt’s “Dream Team” recruiting strategy worked.