(Last update: 4:50 p.m.)
We saw what Washaun Ealey brought to the table for Georgia. It wasn’t good enough.
We saw what Caleb King brought to the table for Georgia. It wasn’t good enough.
So sorry if I’m not all bent out of shape about the sudden news that King has been declared academically ineligible for the Bulldogs in the fall. Nothing against the young man personally, but in terms of how this impacts the fortunes of the football team, it’s close enough to zero. Fact is, the Dogs were going to rise or fall next season on the strength of freshman Isaiah Crowell, any way.
Coach Mark Richt has certainly let it be known on occasion that Crowell was the only running back he really cared about. How often does a college coach say on national letter of intent day something remotely close to this on a recruit: “ I wouldn’t be shocked to see him running that rock in the Dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he’s supposed to do”?
Richt was talking about Crowell. He had pretty much had it with Ealey, who a week later was suspended, eventually was granted his release and transferred to Jacksonville State.
Having King for depth purposes might’ve been nice. But what in the last three seasons — given injuries, a lack of production and his own off-field issues — would lead you to believe he could be counted on?
Scouting services had him as one of the top running backs in the nation and the first overall player in Georgia back in 2006. Either they were wrong or he figured he would just let the resume do the work for him in Athens. He had one great game in three years (166 yards against Georgia Tech in 2009). He was injured too often. He was arrested last year for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket (which came to be something of an epidemic in Athens).
King is 23 years old and would have been a fifth-year senior. How can a fifth-year senior with everything to play for not stay academically eligible? This was not somebody whom Richt could count on.
Some Georgia fans will belabor the lack of experience behind Crowell. That’s a legitimate concern. But in three seasons over four years, King offered no guarantees.
Richt said in a statement, “We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do. However, we have to move forward and this will provide more opportunities for others to step up.”
Others won’t have to step up too much.
Success next season was always going to hinge on Crowell, and certainly the offensive line in front of him. Caleb King was just a name on the depth chart.
By Jeff Schultz