A year ago, Washaun Ealey’s departure from Georgia would have been big news. Today it’s news, but not nearly so big. A year ago, Ealey was the freshman who ran down a Top 10 Georgia Tech team at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In the days since he’d become the guy who kept getting suspended, and then, not incidentally, the guy who’d been rendered almost irrelevant by the tide of time.
Ealey led Georgia in rushing last season, which guaranteed him nothing once Isaiah Crowell signed his letter of intent. In a cruel way, a 21-year-old junior-to-be had already become yesterday’s man.
There were moments when you thought Ealey would be, if not the next Herschel Walker, then maybe the new Musa Smith. Ealey can hit a hole and break a tackle. But he became more a liability than an asset last season by fumbling twice on the goal line and via his vehicular misadventure in the parking garage.
Then he managed to get suspended on Feb. 8, 2011, which was a bad time for an incumbent tailback to get himself suspended. Only six days earlier, the famous Crowell had joined the Dream Team.
It’s unclear what finally led to this parting, but the rumors of Ealey leaving — or being asked to leave — had circulated for months. You can understand it from Mark Richt’s perspective: This is a huge season for the Bulldogs, and distractions of any sort won’t be welcomed. And that, sorry to say, is what this gifted back from Emanuel County Institute had become.
On Nov. 28, 2009, Washaun Ealey was the man — along with Caleb King, who has had issues himself — who helped prove Georgia still ran this state. On May 9, 2011, Ealey is a Bulldog no longer.
By Mark Bradley