Isaiah Crowell, the top player in the state, heeded the Georgia Bulldogs’ call to become part of their “Dream Team.” The five-star running back from Carver-Columbus chose the Bulldogs over Alabama on Wednesday.
His announcement was nationally-televised live on ESPNU.
Crowell wore a crimson-colored tie with a gray suit to throw people off. But after pulling a Georgia cap from underneath a table, he said, simply, “I’m going to be a Dog.”
“The main thing was where I felt comfortable,” Crowell said of the decision. “I had a good relationship with the running backs coach [Bryan McClendon], the strength and conditioning coach [Joe Tereshinski]. That was the difference between Alabama. It was a close decision, but when it came down to it, my heart was at Georgia.”
A few moments after announcing, Crowell produced a white English bulldog puppy, which he displayed on the table where he sat at the Events Community Center in Columbus.
“It was my friend’s dog,” Crowell explained. “I figured it’d be a good idea since he already had a dog.”
Crowell becomes the crown jewel of what the Bulldogs have dubbed their “Dream Team” recruiting class. He’s the third five-star signee they have landed and third that is ranked No. 1 in the nation at his position. The others are Thomas County Central defensive end Ray Drew and Valdosta tight end Jay Rome.
In fact, Drew called out Crowell to follow him when Drew chose the Bulldogs last Friday in Thomasville.
“I haven’t heard from him,” Crowell said of Drew. “I know he was shouting me out on ESPN and different stuff when he made his commitment, but I never talked to him. I talked to Jay Rome yesterday. I talked to him about what I thought I was going to do and it went from there. . . . I had a lot of good relationships with a lot of players but when it came down to it, I had to do what was best for me.”
Of when he actually came to a conclusion, Crowell said: “Really, I made up my mind yesterday. But a long time ago, I had already figured out I was going to be at Georgia, probably.”
Crowell, a five-star running back, was one of only two members of the AJC Fab 50 who came into National Signing Day uncommitted. The other was his teammate Gabe Wright, a defensive tackle who chose Auburn over Tennessee.
“It was pretty much 50-50 at the end,” said Wright, who wore an Auburn cap backwards that had “Nick Who” stitched across the back. “It came down to who had been recruiting me the longest.”
Crowell said his was an extremely difficult decision.
“It was very stressful,” he said. “I had a lot to do and didn’t have a lot of time. I had to make up my mind quick.”
Crowell rushed for 1,627 yards and 17 TDs on just 127 carries for Carver-Columbus (13-1) this past season. Those numbers are NOT eye-popping until put into the context of his season. He missed four full games with injuries and rarely played past halftime as Carver, a Class AA powerhouse, generally steamrolled opponents.
Crowell is not the first elite tailback to come out of Carver High in Columbus. Jasper Sanks was a five-star recruit when he signed with Georgia out of Carver in 1997.