What if Georgia Bulldogs fail to land RB Isaiah Crowell?

Everybody in the world knows that Carver-Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell is Georgia’s No. 1 target for 2011. But what hasn’t been talked about much is this: What happens if the Bulldogs don’t get him?

That shake you just felt was the collective Bulldog Nation shuddering.

Isaiah Crowell with current and former Carver-Columbus teammates Deion Bonner and Jarvis Jones at a Georgia camp last summer. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Isaiah Crowell with current and former Carver-Columbus teammates Deion Bonner and Jarvis Jones at a Georgia camp last summer. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Few teams can match the momentum with which UGA has been closing out this recruiting season. The Bulldogs are 4-for-4 in landing their last four members of the so-called “Dream Team” in Damian Swann, Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome and Ray Drew.

But Crowell has kept UGA waiting. The nation’s No. 1-ranked tailback per Scout.com and ESPN, says he’ll pick between the Bulldogs and Alabama on Wednesday.

What, pray tell, if he chooses the Crimson Tide?

“It will be hard to call it a Dream Team if you miss on Crowell,” said Chad Simmons, South recruiting manager for Scout.com and FoxSports.com. “He’s been on the top of their board from the beginning. You have to feel good about them getting him because they haven’t haven’t seriously recruited anybody else at the position. On the other hand, if they don’t get him, then what are they going to do?”

The answer is, probably not sign a running back until 2012.

Meanwhile, it was a very good year in the state for running backs, and the Bulldogs had some flirtations with the best of them. But nothing of a serious nature.

The next best backs in the state are generally thought to be Marcus Caffey of Grady and Josh Clemons of Whitewater. Both are currently committed to Kentucky. Many have wondered if one or the other may represent a backup plan for the Dogs.

“As far as I know — and I’ve talked to Georgia and Mark Richt extensively — they haven’t even discussed Caffey,” said Grady coach Ronnie Millen. “I think they may have talked to  Damian about him a little. But as far as I’m concerned he’s never really been on their radar.”

And that, Millen believes, might be a mistake.

“I haven’t seen Crowell play but I don’t know how anybody could be much better than my guy,” he said. “It may be one of those Jasper Sanks-Jamal Lewis things.”

In 1997, Georgia chose to focus all its recruiting efforts on landing running back Sanks out of Carver-Columbus over Lewis of Atlanta’s Douglass High. Lewis became an All-American and won a national championship with Tennessee before going on to an extended NFL career. Sanks was a serviceable SEC back but struggled with academics and discipline and never lived up to his lofty billing.

Caffey (6-0, 190) rushed for 1,611 yards and 18 touchdowns while rarely playing a full game for Grady (12-2) this past season. Swann, his teammate and best friend, is an AJC Super 11 defensive back and UGA commitment who expressed an interest in having Caffey come with him to Athens.

But after an early commitment to Purdue, Caffey reversed field and committed to Kentucky last month. He’ll sign with the Wildcats Wednesday morning at 8:45.

Clemons is also headed to the Bluegrass State. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound athlete was named the state’s Class AAAA offensive player of the year after rushing for 2,003 yards and 25 touchdowns.

“We sent some film to them and they even looked at him a little last year, but they never seemed that interested,” Whitewater coach Amos McCrary said of Georgia. “They had him down there a couple of times. But I think they’re on a certain person in Georgia and nobody else.”

Like Caffey, it’s doubtful Clemons would wait around to see what Georgia does. He, too, is scheduled to siGn at 8:45  in the morning. But, McCrary said, you can never be sure.

“There’s maybe a little speculation that could happen, but all indications are he’s going to sign with Kentucky,” McCrary said.

Georgia also offered scatback Quan Bray of Troup in this class and it had some flirtations with some of the top out-of-state running backs. The Dogs threw out token offers to Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green of Texas and Mike Bellamy, Shon Carson, James Wilder Jr., and Remi Watson of Florida.

But they never pursued any of them with the vigor they have Crowell. And the consensus is Georgia’s tunnel vision is justified.

Crowell (6-0, 190) is said to share the characteristics of South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, the SEC’s reigning Freshman of the Year. Crowell rushed for 1,627 yards and 17 TDs despite missing four entire games with injuries and rarely playing past halftime in the other 10. Hence, he had a yards-per-carry average of more  than 12.

Informed that Crowell is not going to announce his choice until 1:35 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU), McCrary gasped.

“Whew! He must be pretty good to sit around and wait on him like that,” he said. “They’d be crazy not to have somebody out there in mind.”

Not necessarily.

“If they miss him they don’t sign a running back in 2011, in my opinion,” Simmons said. “That will leave them with Washaun Ealey, Carlton Thomas, Ken Malcome and Caleb King, and that’s fine. But who knows what will happen with Caleb King missing the bowl game and all that?

“But Georgia definitely believes in Isaiah Crowell and obviously they believe they’re going to get him. If Georgia does sign him, he’s going to be expected to produce.”

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

537 comments Add your comment

HWJ

January 31st, 2011
2:11 pm

Finchdawg

January 31st, 2011
2:19 pm

Yikes, that is scary. Hope we get him.

258DAWG

January 31st, 2011
2:19 pm

258DAWG

January 31st, 2011
2:20 pm

thebull35

January 31st, 2011
2:21 pm

2nd….never did this so i guess i’d try it

thebull35

January 31st, 2011
2:22 pm

Erked Russell

January 31st, 2011
2:23 pm

It would be great to get him and have the kind of year that Marcus Lattimore had.

JC

January 31st, 2011
2:24 pm

Wow really? This is what you have to resort to to get people to read your articles?

south

January 31st, 2011
2:25 pm

Thenumber34

January 31st, 2011
2:25 pm

You folks who try to position for first…get a life.

Now, to the matter at hand, I hope that if we do land IC, we give this kid a chance to mature and not pin all of our hopes on him….that’s too much for any 18 year old. We’ve got guys on the team currently who are playmakers, and having IC as an option would only sweeten the pot.

south

January 31st, 2011
2:26 pm

If IFS AND BUTS WERE CANDY AND NUTS, WE’D ALL HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

Ramblin Man

January 31st, 2011
2:26 pm

I would be surprised if he picked Alabama over UGA considering the playing time aspect and it’s not a not in the SEC thing, but Saban does like to tell these kids what they like to hear and god only knows what this kid has been told.

UGAgrad71

January 31st, 2011
2:27 pm

Can you idiots express a cogent thought? Your IQ scores must be lower than your ages!

heyberto

January 31st, 2011
2:28 pm

I have no idea what will happen, but my guess is the AJC does, and it has something to do with Crowell’s denial of UGA being the hinge on which the exit door, which will be swinging open for Richt. Such is the nature of this tabloid that considers itself a newspaper.

Vikings87

January 31st, 2011
2:29 pm

Would have loved UGA to go after Caffey. He and Swann would have been a great “package” deal. Crowell clearly is an outstanding HS RB but think Caffey was there for the taking and hope we don’t regret not going after him.

Spanky

January 31st, 2011
2:32 pm

Nice Article, Chip! I guess someone has to play devil’s advocate! You are right, though! If CMR wasn’t 95% sure that Isaiah would sign, a definite Plan B and C would be persued,….or I’d like to think so! Does anyone have any insight as to whom the OL coach will be?

VA DAWG

January 31st, 2011
2:32 pm

“What happens if the Bulldogs don’t get him?”

The sun will come up tomorrow…granted it would be great to get a great young talent like Isiah, but one player doesn’t define an SEC champion or success in the SEC. Teams win championships (the “rule”)…one player doesn’t (auburn..the “exception”). Wish him success, whether its in T-Town or Athens. GO DAWGS!

D A DoubleU G

January 31st, 2011
2:33 pm

If we don’t get him, Ealey is only a rising Junior, and King is a Sr.

As much as you guys want to say they are no good, they are. You must look at the O-line that was making their holes. That O-line is the definition of “underachieve”.

So if we land Isaiah, GREAT. This will create competition among the 3, making each of them better.

If we DON’T land him, we light a fire, however possible, under Ealey.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT, we need some showings from our O-line…. NOW.

I don’t know exactly what is going to happen after signing day with the coaching staff, but I feel like we will have a few changes put in place once this class is inked. I expect improvements on the O-line, and whether we are with or without Crowell, said changes will result in better run production.

Look at the BIG picture here people. DO not let anybody fool you into thinking just the arrival of Crowell will change anything. There are several moving parts, and we haven’t even set them in motion yet,.

GO DAWGS!!!!

BigDawg

January 31st, 2011
2:33 pm

less than 2 days til hes a dawg DREAM TEAM gotta believe it

Hairy Dawg

January 31st, 2011
2:33 pm

It won’t matter who the RB is if we can’t control the line of scrimmage.

Johnny Too Good

January 31st, 2011
2:34 pm

if they dont get him i think they’ll be alright, Ealey didnt do too bad, if he can stay outta trouble

http://www.youtube.com/thatsjohnanderson

GT87

January 31st, 2011
2:35 pm

He’s gonna go UGA and fit in with the other attitudes on the team.

Shannon in Athens

January 31st, 2011
2:35 pm

Crowell is coming to UGA. It is a done deal.

saban

January 31st, 2011
2:38 pm

Crowell is mine. I am selling him to Florida for 200k. Just too many folks want to play here.

Georgia will have a losing season no matter who they recruit.

just a fan

January 31st, 2011
2:38 pm

Don’t forget about Malcome from everything I here he is going to be a great back, not saying we don’t need IC but they will make a great 1-2 combo

Johnny Too Good

January 31st, 2011
2:39 pm

and of course if they dont get him, i’d like to think that the staff at UGA would have a backup plan….

http://www.youtube.com/thatsjohnanderson

RxDawg

January 31st, 2011
2:40 pm

What if Georgia Bulldogs fail to land RB Isaiah Crowell?

1. Avoid the blogs for a week because the glass half empty “fans” will be in full effect. Not to mention an article or two from Schultz and Bradley.

2. Nothing, we have 4 scholarship RB’s and we’ll keep playing them.

3. Start looking to 2012.

NOBODYYOUKNOW

January 31st, 2011
2:41 pm

Why in this world did UGA not go after these other two if the ISAIAH kid went else where? Many times the lesser known guys turn out to be great players.

Grammar Police

January 31st, 2011
2:41 pm

@just a fan this is not only directed at you as I have read this multiple times today

here = location
hear = that thing people do with their ears

and while we are at it, their = possessive; there = location

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Ingram, TracyBrown and BigBlueBass, Chip Towers. Chip Towers said: What if Georgia Bulldogs fail to land RB Isaiah Crowell? http://bit.ly/gt5w1E [...]

JAWJeRDAWG

January 31st, 2011
2:43 pm

It would be great to get Isaiah, but we’ve almost GOT to get John Jenkins to anchor our defensive line. Hopefully both these talented athletes, and the others we have committed and those we are targeting will all sign. Could really be a good signing week for UGA. Go Dawgs!

David

January 31st, 2011
2:44 pm

I think I am going to throw up if I hear UGA’s recruiting class referred to as the “dream team” one more time (I think the language must be a legal requirement on 680thefan). Just as they say to an idiot wide receiver wildly celebrating a touchdown as if he just won the national championship “Act like you’ve been there before” – the same can be said to Georgia draft fans. I mean congrats and all – you’ve got some nice committs. Big freakin deal. Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, USC, Ohio State have classes like yours YEAR in and YEAR OUT. Rivals has you listed at the #7 ranked class. DREAM TEAM?! Just because you land a 4 or 5 star recruit – IT MEANS NOTHING for at least a few years until you see how the guy pans out. The way people are frothing at the mouth over this “dream” class you’d think they just had a huge upset win in an actual game.

I guess after years and years of wildly underachieving in actual results, you’re more likely to jump at any positive news you can – kinda like how Mark Richt can now “focus more” on football and they have a new strength & conditioning coach. Wow – let’s just go ahead and engrave a Sears Trophy for ‘em!

WIN WITH RICHT

January 31st, 2011
2:45 pm

If we don’t get Crowell, there will be another stud can’t miss GA RB next year.

D A DoubleU G

January 31st, 2011
2:47 pm

I cannot wait until Wednesday (and again Saturday), so all of this will be OVER.

I am ready to not read the recruiting blog 5 times a day, and maybe even call a truce with the ignorant, childish smack talking Georgia Tech fans(sic) until the conclusion of Spring Practice.

47 hours until Isaiah announces…….

layinlow

January 31st, 2011
2:49 pm

DA Double, I completely agree with your sentiments on our running game. I have been saying for a while that the biggest detriment to our running game is our offensive line play. Some of the Georgia people who have given up on ealey confound me. He definently has to work on fumbling issues but I fully expect him to be in the mix next year as long as he has the right attitude and works hard.

I want to land Crowell like many others but I don’t think he is as do or die as some may think. I wanted Drew and Jenkins much more than Crowell. If we fix our defense and get our offensive line ready to whip some rear end then we will be okay.

nagadawg

January 31st, 2011
2:50 pm

Filler article, even Chip doesn’t believe that UGA misses on Crowell…

just a fan

January 31st, 2011
2:50 pm

good looking out grammer police lol

7576DAWG

January 31st, 2011
2:51 pm

We do need Crowell especially if King and or Ealey are having academic problems. We could always try Marshall at running back. As great of athlete as Marshall is it would be one of those things of , lets make sure we get him on the field , somewhere.

UGA 4 LIFE

January 31st, 2011
2:52 pm

Who Does These Articles I Swear They Are Always ANTI-UGA….”How In The World Is UGA Recruiting So Well” We Are Amazed and “What If We Miss On Crowell” Etc Etc….How About WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE DREAM TEAM ASSEMBLES ITSELF?

jaglaw

January 31st, 2011
2:53 pm

Its nice to see UGA making ground in south GA. Too many of these players have been lost in the past several years. I have always thought this was a weakness in recruiting. South GA kids don’t have the media attention that the Atlanta area kids get. But theyate just as talented. Look at all high school classifications in last 10 yrs…..see how many south GA schools have won championships in their respective class. Facts don’t lie. And no, I’m not trying to hate on or start a debate regarding north GA kids. Just glad to a CMR back in southern GA.

Spike

January 31st, 2011
2:53 pm

We would love to have him be a dawg, of course. But I would get over it pretty quickly to be honest. Just like I did with DaRick Rogers.

RxDawg

January 31st, 2011
2:53 pm

lol naga. Did you see my post aimed at you on the last blog?

Dontavius Supremo

January 31st, 2011
2:53 pm

I’ll bite: What?

Steve Superior

January 31st, 2011
2:54 pm

HA, HA
You can still win the Fulmer Cup without him.
UGA always Feb National Champions. See ya in Sept.

Jim

January 31st, 2011
2:55 pm

I’d say get the rushign yards from 1 of 3 places if this happens:
1- Ealey–give him 25 carries a game, he av’s 5.5 ypc at UGA and got 11 td’s last season
2- Let the QB run like Newton & Tebow did
3- Get the run yards from a Percy Harvin type player like Smith or Scott Wesley Bown

Dawg_Mike

January 31st, 2011
2:56 pm

No red shirts – win now !

Mightydawg

January 31st, 2011
2:59 pm

Let’s think about this for a moment…..UGA is only recruiting one RB. Every other school that recruited Crowell has moved on to another target and got a commitment from another running back. Hmmm….. Where is Crowell going to go????

Valdosta Cat

January 31st, 2011
3:01 pm

@VA DAWG, Great post but I’d like to add a bit of a slant to your point. I agree that one player doesn’t define an SEC Champion or success in the SEC but one player can really make a significant difference for a team. One example of one such player IMO would of course be Lattimore of Carolina. I personally don’t believe they would have gone as far as winning the East title w/o him. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good team but he was simply unstoppable.

Mightydawg

January 31st, 2011
3:03 pm

Also, UGA just released that Richt’s press conference for signing day is going to be at 3 PM. Normally, his press conference is around noon. Why would he wait any extra 3 hours for his press conference???? What time is the Crowell anouncement??? 1:35? Hmmmm.

RxDawg

January 31st, 2011
3:04 pm

Valdosta there is no doubt that USC isn’t the same team without Lattimore. I actually talked with a redshirt fresman from USC the day after their loss to FSU in the peach bowl. He told me that when Lattimore went down to injury the team went into an almost mental funk. They even know their not the same team without him.