Fortunes of Georgia, Richt can turn on recruiting Crowell

Carver-Columbus High running back Isaiah Crowell can be a difference-maker at Georgia. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Carver-Columbus High's Isaiah Crowell can be a difference-maker at Georgia. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Those of you who’ve read me around college football recruiting time are familiar with my feelings about it. I’ve mostly mocked it — not because I think it’s not important but because the importance is so often overstated

We’ve seen enough in college football to know that it’s less important how highly a player — or entire recruiting class — is ranked by DraftSuperGeek.com than it is what happens to that player when he arrives on campus. Most significant is whether players are coached up, down or not at all.

How many top 10 recruiting classes you think TCU has pulled in the last 100 years? I’ll speculate: zero.

OK, that said, the fortunes of Georgia next season — and, it follows, coach Mark Richt — could swing on the potential recruitment of one player. I know. I’m contradicting myself. But by all accounts, running back Isaiah Crowell of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., is that special of a player and, most importantly, he plays the right position.

The Dogs need to improve in a lot of areas but mostly they need a running back they can count on from week to week, on and off the field (read: not Caleb King).

What did Marcus Lattimore do for South Carolina this season? What did a guy named Herschel Walker do for Georgia?

Nobody can guarantee Crowell will be in that category as a freshman, but most seem to believe he’s a game-changer. Richt’s issue is he may not have the luxury of time so he needs an immediate-impact player in 2011. Crowell would pair nicely with quarterback Aaron Murray. The expected loss of A.J. Green will hurt the offense but Murray is good enough — his Liberty Bowl performance notwithstanding — that the Dogs should still have a solid passing attack.

Our recruiting monster, Chip Towers, is down in Florida at the high school All-American game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Here’s a link to his latest blog about recruits saying they’re not spooked by Georgia’s 6-7 record this year. Here’s an excerpt, which quotes Crowell:

The general consensus among some of the state’s highest-profile college football prospects is that Georgia’s 6-7 record this past season is not necessarily a deal-killer with regard to their recruitment. Most notably, that is the opinion of Carver-Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell. He is generally considered Georgia’s highest-ranked recruit and is, quite clearly, the Bulldogs’ No. 1 target from the Class of 2011.

“Really, I don’t how they’re going to be when I get there,” Crowell said, speaking metaphorically of the possibility of enrolling at UGA before next season. “I try not to think about it like that. One year South Carolina’s down, then Marcus Lattimore went there and the program’s up. So you never know how it will be when you get there. And I feel like I’ll be a difference maker wherever I go.”

Hey, he stole the Lattimore example from me.

For what it’s worth, Georgia’s in a recruiting battle with Alabama and Auburn for Crowell.

So what do you think? Can one player like Crowell make that big of a difference?

This might help you make your decision. It’s a near four-minute highlight video of Crowell from Scout.com, via YouTube. (Sorry, no audio. But you can provide your own screaming.)

Earlier post: Our first coach rankings (and a poll about Richt, Hewitt)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

601 comments Add your comment

D A Double U G

January 3rd, 2011
9:51 pm

He is ALL DAWG

Looking Good

January 3rd, 2011
9:56 pm

Have any videos which show his blocking abilities in the passing game? Caleb King’s videos were very impressive too…

JAWJeRDAWG

January 3rd, 2011
9:58 pm

He could well be the key to our future and one of many missing links that UGA so desperately needs in this 2011 recruiting class. Here’s hoping for ‘The Dream Team, and Go Dawgs!

benadawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:02 pm

We need him so bad that for 180,000 dollars…..contibution to my church of course….wink…He will wear the red and black.

D A Double U G

January 3rd, 2011
10:03 pm

Jeff, you mock recruiting. How would you suggest College programs go out and build for the future??

How on Earth can you work for a “newspaper” in the middle of College Football heaven, and “mock” recruiting.

You and your little sidekick, Mark Bradley, do nothing but hurt recruiting with your 6 or 7 negative article a week about the local programs. Nobody gets mad when you report facts about a developing story, but your opinion articles about the schools are fueled by hatred, ignorance and middle school bully mentality.

I would HIGHLY recommend that you two go write for a “newspaper” somewhere North of Washington DC, where they too “mock” college football and recruiting. Up there they expect perfection from all their teams in order to justify keeping a coach or having their fans be allowed to speak a word of excitement or love for their teams.

So do us ALL a favor, Jeff. And refrain from stories like this, and everything else to do with college football. I am sure there is a Little League coach somewhere in Gwinnett who lost the last 3 games of the season who could write an article about the need to fire him.

JRW7

January 3rd, 2011
10:03 pm

Isaiah
Come to UGA, you can be a starter as a freshman!!!!!!

DawginOH

January 3rd, 2011
10:04 pm

Looks like he can work plenty of magic even without relying on an offensive line blocking for him, thus making him an even better fit at UGA. ;) This guy looks like the real deal. Fingers crossed that he’ll be a Dawg soon!

Paulitik

January 3rd, 2011
10:06 pm

Richt will find a way to waste his talent, or he’ll get arrested. Richt has no control over this team. Kid looks like the truth though.

Hoping is all we can do

January 3rd, 2011
10:07 pm

Who is included on this “Dream Team”? Drew, Crowell….someone fill me in please. And how confident are the fans in counting on the coaches to land these big players?

RedclayBulldogs

January 3rd, 2011
10:09 pm

Great!!!! Another small frame 5′7 or Below Running Back? Give me a brake…. Does he even weigh 190 lbs or more NO!!! Then we don’t need him em… Got enough of those already..

Sandman053

January 3rd, 2011
10:10 pm

I prefer to read Chip Towers on recruiting, but Schultz is simply repeating what everyone in the Bulldog Nation has been saying all weekend…we gotta have Crowell! Not just for CMR but for the future of the program.

Gators Rule!

January 3rd, 2011
10:13 pm

It won’t make a bit of damn difference, Georgia sucks…

Sandman053

January 3rd, 2011
10:14 pm

Well honestly Redclay, with our line the way it is, Michael Turner couldn’t pick up much yardage.

Orcel

January 3rd, 2011
10:15 pm

I don’t see why he should be any better than the other talented players UGA has recruited. Would he and Murray be any better than Stafford, Moreno, and AJ Green? If he becomes a Dawg I predict he’ll just be another highly touted high school player who turns into a mediocre college player.

D A Double U G

January 3rd, 2011
10:16 pm

For those of you who do not regularly follow recruiting, I would suggest 2 things….

1. Do NOT listen to Jeff Schultz on ANYTHING on the topic. He is a bully who should be writing articles somewhere other than Atlanta, where he hates all things Atlanta Sports

2. Read this…. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=5985211

Suggestion #2 is a story on ESPN.com that outlines the “Dream Team” and just how close it is to becoming a reality.

Mock recruiting all you want, and dish out all the haterade you want towards UGA, but they very well may be on the verge of signing a VERY special class.

Sandman053

January 3rd, 2011
10:18 pm

DA Double: I agree with you. I think this team is going to be very special indeed. We have an in-home vvisit with John Jenkins this week then he’s coming to Athens next week, so hopefully that will shore up the defense immediately. Go Dawgs!

Freddy

January 3rd, 2011
10:19 pm

Richt might get ONE good player out of his “Dream Team” . They will flip like DaRick Rodgers did last year

Caleb King

January 3rd, 2011
10:19 pm

Who cares… My highlights look just as good….He is me years ago…

Not a moron

January 3rd, 2011
10:19 pm

Hey Redclaybulldogs!!! You may want to do some research before you comment. Crowell is 6′0″ and 215 lbs moron. I saw him play twice this year and he is the real deal.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nathan Faulkner. Nathan Faulkner said: RT @JeffSchultzAJC: Fortunes of Georgia, Richt can turn on recruiting Crowell http://bit.ly/hgVhF1 [...]

Courage

January 3rd, 2011
10:22 pm

Loyalty…look it up!

If a player resided in the state of Georgia and a Georgia program has offered a scholarship, the only decision is which Georgia program he/she wants to attend. Auburn and Alabama, and any other out of Georgia programs should only be considered if the team you want to play for in Georgia hasn’t offered or doesn’t have a scholarship to offer.

Stay loyal…stay in Georgia…and the talent in the state of Georgia will blow away the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas and yes, Florida.

Loyalty: unswerving in allegiance; faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government.

Be loyal to the Sate of Georgia!

Swamp Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:22 pm

UGA’s only prayer for next year is Crowell,the big NG from juco, and all the other dream team members.

RedclayBulldogs

January 3rd, 2011
10:22 pm

@ Not a moron… Did you go on the field to Measure and Weigh him too…. Okay…. Those stats of him or predicted stats that are released by rivals.com.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor. ajc sports editor said: RT @JeffSchultzAJC: Can 1 recruit change fortunes of #Dawgs, #Richt in 2011? Maybe. His name is Isaiah Crowell. http://bit.ly/hi5Yqc [...]

Billyboy

January 3rd, 2011
10:25 pm

Recruiting is the difference, but the key is the recruiting of a few key players. Coaching a player up is overstated. The key to college football is about 12 recruits in the nation.

Crowell is one of those few players that can make the difference. If Crowell goes to UGA, then, UGA will probably win the SEC. If Crowell goes to Alabama, then he will be a difference maker, but, it will be 2 more years.

I have been involved in recruiting now for over 40 years in Georgia. This is a must for UGA. If Crowell goes to UGA, he will break Herschel’s record and UGA will win a National Championship. I said the same thing about Herschel and people said I was crazy. This is another guarantee.

Swamp Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:26 pm

Hey Gators Rule! Put on your jort jean pjs and get the hell off of a UGA blog dipwad!

RedclayBulldogs

January 3rd, 2011
10:28 pm

UGA needs to start recruiting AAAA and AAAAA players. Not saying anything about A and AA , but we have enough of the small school backs on the Team already. These guys are coming to play BIG BOY FOOTBALL in the SEC. Please get with it CMR.

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:28 pm

D A Double U G — Are you angry about something? Come on. Just get it out. You’ll feel better. I won’t even charge you for the therapy session.

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 pm

RedclayBulldogs — Not sure where the 5′7 thing comes from. I’ve seen him listed at 5-11 or 6-foot.

The Wild Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 pm

@ DA double UG

One article does not a dream make. I’d say the operative word regarding this recruiting class is “dream”–as in keep dreaming Mark Richt.

Sorry, but it’s gonna take more than one running back to get UGA back on track.

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 pm

Sandman — Hah. I prefer to read Chip Towers on recruiting too.

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:30 pm

Caleb King — Get back to class. For once.

The Wild Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:31 pm

Jeff, did you take DA Double UG’s lunch money again!?!

AubFan

January 3rd, 2011
10:31 pm

@Courage… I understand you’re point. I hope you know that with that logic, you’re without AJ Green and Aaron Murray among many others.

RedclayBulldogs

January 3rd, 2011
10:31 pm

Maybe so Jeff… I may be wrong but he looks mighty small in the vid.

SLICK RICHT

January 3rd, 2011
10:33 pm

He looks like he would make a good tight end.

The Wild Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 pm

Mr. College Football wrote in his last article (this morning, I believe) that one of the last thing UGA needs is to have another arrest. And yet, here it is!

When will enough be enough?

SLICK RICHT

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 pm

He’s no Marcus Lattimore.

just saying

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 pm

Recruiting for college football is the biggest roll of the dice for almost any college sport. There is simply no way of knowing how any recruit will do at a big time program. The other sports have camps and showcases and other sanctioned contests that allow the best in the country to compete against one another. I am not saying that recruiting isn’t important in football (simple size and speed are easily measured). It is just a situation where you never really get a chance to see how most high school players will respond to the better competition.

Bull

January 3rd, 2011
10:36 pm

Jeff Shultz, is this the peace pipe you’re trying to pass to the UGA fans?

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:36 pm

The Wild Dawg — Haha. Not that I can recall. I’m a pacifist.

Reader of Morons and quite a few idiots

January 3rd, 2011
10:36 pm

SLICK RICHT

You are correct and Richt is no Spurrier.

true blue

January 3rd, 2011
10:37 pm

Can’t know one player save nobody job. GEORGIA need a offensive coordinator that understand the game. This is not little football , but SEC football. They also need to start recruit more in state and quit letting players get away in their backyard. I know that they can’t get all of them , but they can get majority of them

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 pm

Reader of Morons and quite a few idiots — Please, no naughty words (or even cleverly disguised naughty words).

SE Dawg Fan

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 pm

You can get your Ken Suguria off this stupid Dowtin incident. He made it sound like Dowtin was supposed to be in Memphis, but after the game Richt said he didn’t know where Dowtin was. Duh!!! Better reporting needed. I bet Richt knew where he was, and I bet Dowtin wasn’t expected to be there in Memphis either. Are you guys cloning him to be a UGA hater???

Reader of Morons and quite a few idiots

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 pm

Sorry Jeffy, wont happen again.

SE Dawg Fan

January 3rd, 2011
10:39 pm

@ The Wild Dog dinghy….. The arrest was in May, stupid jerk….

Jeff Schultz

January 3rd, 2011
10:40 pm

Bull — Peace pipe? Is that how you read this? I just write blogs/columns. That’s all I do. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, I just write ‘em.

D A Double U G

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 pm

Schultz,

I would pull a 180 (ok, maybe a 175, give or take) on my feelings toward you and Bradley if you simply did 1 thing.

Admit that the negative articles you two write are simply a way to get blog hits. You know by riling up the biggest fan bases in the State (those belonging to the college football programs), you will get more hits and angry comments on your blogs, which lead to a mirage that you have loyal readership, which leads to more expensive advertising space…… and job security for you.

Please, admit it. And if you honestly feel good about it, then bless you child.

RedclayBulldogs

January 3rd, 2011
10:44 pm

Them Gators down in Gainesville are making major moves (ON THE COACHING STAFF). HINT: Offensive Coordinator. CMR, better take note and make a move on BOZO. or Next year this time he will be sitting in the stance during football seasons to come.