What’s going on with UGA’s recruiting of running backs? (UPDATED)

What is going on with the school that some still call “Tailback U”?

UGA will play on Saturday without its top three running backs – all suspended.

In the small scheme of things, particularly the impact vs. New Mexico State, it is unlikely to have any effect. However, in the bigger picture, especially when it comes to recruiting, it is part of an alarming trend for UGA and its tailbacks.

The AJC’s Chip Towers addressed what many were saying or thinking when he wrote this:

Sooner or later, you have to question Georgia’s recruitment and coaching of the tailback position. Going back to Dontavius Jackson and continuing through Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, this makes six tailbacks in the last 15 months that have been subjected to some sort of suspension, dismissal or general disciplinary action. Bryan McClendon gets paid $200,000 a year to be the Bulldogs’ running backs coach. Ultimately, it is his responsibility to see that his charges are doing things “the Georgia way.”

How much do you hold McClendon accountable for Georgia’s alarming woes at tailback? If so, how much? Or has McClendon simply run into a bad (but long) string of bad luck?

UGA RB coach Bryan McClendon talks with his star pupil, Isaiah Crowell, on Saturday (AJC)

UGA RB coach Bryan McClendon talks with his star pupil, Isaiah Crowell, on Saturday (AJC)

Does Georgia need to change the way they evaluate and recruit prospects at tailback? If so, how? What can they be doing better?

On a related note: From a recruiting perspective, this week’s suspensions have made it very clear that UGA’s No. 1 recruiting priority for this year’s class is a top-tier tailback. At least one, maybe two. Maybe more. UGA has 15 commitments but none are tailbacks. This year, UGA seems to be using the same high-risk, high-reward strategy it used successfully to land Isaiah Crowell – zeroing in one main target in the final months before signing day. Can you imagine UGA’s RB concerns right now if Crowell had picked Alabama over UGA last February? It was bold recruiting by UGA but it worked. UGA’s main target this year is Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C. He’s the No. 1-rated running back in the country, according to several recruiting websites, and is reportedly favoring UGA, although Clemson has really gotten involved recently. Marshall will announce his college decision in December after he finishes visits to Clemson and South Carolina later this month. He has already made recruiting trips to UGA, Notre Dame and Florida. UGA has also offered Marshall’s close friend, Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C., who also plays running back. They made an official visit to UGA together. If the Bulldogs land both North Carolina talents, or simply Marshall and another RB (perhaps able to flip one that is committed to another school), then it would tremendously ease the long-term concerns of UGA fans.

Now it’s your turn: What do you think about everything? Please post below.

UGA RB target Todd Gurley (No. 1) tweeted this picture of him and Keith Marshall during their official visit to UGA

Keith Marshall (No. 4) is the nation's No. 1-ranked RB prospect and made an official visit to UGA, along with fellow North Carolina high school RB Todd Gurley (No. 1), who tweeted this picture.

314 comments Add your comment

Is I 1st?

November 4th, 2011
3:25 pm

TECHFAN

November 4th, 2011
3:25 pm

From an outsiders perspective, it seems like a string of bad luck. But I definitely think that character needs to play more of a role for UGA when recruiting these guys. I believe Marshall would be a high character – high skill player for them.

Is I 1st?

November 4th, 2011
3:27 pm

Does Trent Richardson have any brothers?

Dawg Donor

November 4th, 2011
3:35 pm

McClendon is a nice kid but he’s in over his head. If you can’t babysit your THREE scholarship running backs, then you need to working in another profession. He had an awful track record even before these three. I’d love for coach McClendon to stay involved with our university. Maybe reassign him to head groundskeeper like Whittemore, some fabricated athletic department job like whatever Eason is doing now, or maybe as a fundraiser under Loran? But he’s got to go. This is unacceptable and NOT “the Georgia way.”

Hire Buck Belue

November 4th, 2011
3:36 pm

They don’t look happy in that tweeted picture. I sure hope we get KM.

Good Grief

November 4th, 2011
3:39 pm

you’re asking me? ask the guy getting paid 200K a year.

Jane Brady

November 4th, 2011
3:40 pm

Marshall…Marshall….Marshall!!!!!!!

Spanky

November 4th, 2011
3:41 pm

I saw the clip that Chip had on Marshall, who maintains a 4.2 GPA and is very humble! This is what we need!!

RxDawg

November 4th, 2011
3:47 pm

I blame the men, yes they are men people, that squandered everything they had going for them in playing running back for UGA. Morons, each and every one of them although I think Dontavious Jackson was more of a case of really bad timing. Ealy was as bone headed as they get and I had people warn me he would be a problem early on. King… well I just don’t know if he didn’t apply himself or if he just simply got farther through the education system then his cognitive function should of allowed. So it’s hard for me to criticize him without knowing everything.

Say It Aint So

November 4th, 2011
3:48 pm

Here is the question, McClendon played WR at UGA, what qualifies him to be a RB coach? He didn’t make the team in Chicago after his playing days so CMR finds a spot for him on the staff?

McDawg

November 4th, 2011
3:51 pm

perhaps if the fan base did not engage in hero worship before these guys actually accomplish something then perhaps egos and attitudes wouldn’t trump hard work and effort

country boy

November 4th, 2011
3:51 pm

wish we could flip that kid from Stephenson from gators to UGA

Roll out the carpet

November 4th, 2011
3:52 pm

UGA needs to go to Plan B. Crowell will not make it. He is too intent on continuing to BE ME. That is fine. Perfectly fine that attitude is and it may or may not work in the NFL, if he ever gets there. Right now, he is not SEC material based on what I have seen so far.

UGA neeeds to contact 4 or 5 top HS backs and recruit them. These UGA backs were far superior to Crowell. Some were TRUE FROSH and obvioulsy some were not but here goes:

Hines Ward, Willie McClendon, Musa Smith, Gliding Glenn Harrsion, Jimmy Polus, Ricky Lake, Jimmy Shira, Brad Johnson, Bruce Kemp, Kevin McLee, Tim ( I took a puff too) Worley, Rodney Hampton, Lars Tate, #20 of three years ago (now in player weight lifting at UGA) and too many others to name.

Crowell? He will be forgotten within another year.

Go Dogs.

Say It Aint So

November 4th, 2011
3:53 pm

Coaches are supposed to put those egoes in check there fella.

Say It Aint So

November 4th, 2011
3:54 pm

If those kids respected CMR and staff, you wouldn’t have that many problesms. But when you know you are going to be gosh darned to death, you tend to go a head a take chances.

Dawg Fan

November 4th, 2011
3:56 pm

@RxDawg, it’s the “men” recruiting the men. If you had 1 or 2 bad apples, you may call it coincidence. But 6? That’s an epic failure by Richt and the coaching staff. They need to be held accountable. Changes need to be made, either with McClendon (who I have no idea why he was hired to begin with because of his lack of coaching experience) or with the way we recruit. I’m sick and tired of all these five star recruits being such headaches off the field. Spare us of the drama.

McDawg

November 4th, 2011
3:57 pm

Crowell is a true freshmen who barley played a half at Carver–lay off the kid regarding his durability

The answer to the question about WHY is Coach McClendon at UGA?

November 4th, 2011
3:57 pm

As i rip the envelope with my formerly nicotine fingers, the answer is that Brian MAC is son of UGA great and former BEAR RUNNING BACK ……………..WILLE McCLENDON who was splendid in his Junior and Senior year in UGA as the I back. Those two years he rushed for possibly 2,300 total yds and I might be wrong. Not bad in 10 games.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

Joe Piskepo

November 4th, 2011
3:57 pm

UGA need to start recruiting better kids. Alabama and Auburn for the past few years have been the true tailback u over UGA. I bet you a dollar to a dougnut that Crowell will not finish his carreer at uga on a good note. Over-hyped dope smoking thug is what he is. I say cut your ties with lil wayne as soon as you get Marshall in the gate. Holla!

Greg

November 4th, 2011
3:58 pm

Richt put together a good staff when he first came to Athens. Once he got comfortable in the job, he became bound and determined to hire buddies(Martinez) and former UGA players(Bobo and now McLendon). Those decisions seemed to have been made based on who would fit in best at the Sunday dinner table gathering at the Richt house rather than who was even remotely qualified for the job. Worse yet, he’s determined to remain loyal to those guys even when they are producing unacceptable results year after year.

Richt is a first class person and he’s done some great things for the program, but his decisions to hire Martinez, Bobo and even McLendon is equivalent on a smaller scale of what Dooley did as AD when he hired Ray Gump. Where are the qualifications? And how do you overcome the fact that your rivals are actually hiring the most experienced and qualified people for those staff positions.

Getting back to McLendon, it would be unfair to blame ALL of this on him. Some portion of it could be bad luck, but he is ultimately responsible for the decisions made as to the players we pursue and how they develop as players and young men once they arrive on campus. Does he have the qualities and experience necessary to do the job effectively? Well, he blocked a punt in the SEC Championship game 6 years ago. What real qualifications does he have to have those responsibilities andake $200k per year? In the absence of true leadership, the inmates will run the asylum. Considering who the leader of the running backs is, I’m just saying these issues don’t surprise me and they shouldn’t surprise Richt either. He needs to start learning from his past mistakes. He doesn’t make millions of dollars per year to simply do what is comfortable for him.

The answer to the question about WHY is Coach McClendon at UGA?

November 4th, 2011
3:59 pm

I meant to say 2- 10 game seasons.

Real Dawg Fan

November 4th, 2011
4:00 pm

I hate when people critizie IC for his durability…he didnt play more than a half at Carver and was allowed to do whatever he wanted during practice (if he went)…his talent is undeniable and conditioning can be coached so we’re in good shape, let him work on it and support all DAWGS!!!

Professor Dawg

November 4th, 2011
4:01 pm

You people are CRAZY if you don’t think we have MAJOR problems at running back. Yes, Crowell is just 19 years old, but this is not his first suspension this year. What the heck is he thinking smoking weed in the middle of the season? Is this a Carver High tradition? WTH? He also reported this summer out of shape. He’s wasting all that talent. Carlton Thomas? I love his heart but he’s a midget and not very physical. He’s not an “everydown” back. He wouldn’t be a fulltime starter at Georgia State. I liked Malcomb a lot, but he’s too injured. When he’s not injured, he’s quitting the team because he’s not playing because he’s injured. His time is up, too.

I am disgusted at my Dawgs

JRW7

November 4th, 2011
4:01 pm

This was not strike 1 on Crowell, this was strike 2, this is the 2nd time he has been suspended! IC ain’t going to make it at UGA! Recruit some more running backs!

To: Greg

November 4th, 2011
4:01 pm

Ditto, sir.

Gooooooooooooooooooo Dawgs !!!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 4th, 2011
4:02 pm

UGA needs to bring in two backs this year. IC,RS,CT are the only “legit” backs that will be returning. I use legit very,very loosely. Elite talent brings competition and this apparently is what IC needs, is a wakeup call. Go get Marshall and another stud IMO.

Joe Piskepo

November 4th, 2011
4:04 pm

Never saw a good back out of columbus, ga. Face it fanatics crowell is a bust. Fizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sharecropper

November 4th, 2011
4:04 pm

Well, have you considered that these running backs are doing things “the Georgia Way”?

War Dang Dawg

November 4th, 2011
4:05 pm

What’s wrong is Richt’s recruiting philosophy. He reminds me of a lot of the good girls I went to high school with. They can’t resist the bad boys, even though they end up getting hurt.

Seriously, I think Richt was brought up on the Miami and FSU model of the early 80s through the 1990s. Those schools didn’t achieve the heights of college football by recruiting choirboys. Personally, I think schools like Stanford have debunked that myth in recent years, but someone tell Richt that.

Joe Piskepo

November 4th, 2011
4:06 pm

jasper sanks + lil wayne = crowell

Concerned Dawg

November 4th, 2011
4:08 pm

Say it aint so. I agree with you completely! These kids have huge ego’s that need to be broke down and that is up to the coaches. Crowell if your listening young man dont waste the opportunity that you have please. Smoke on your time in the summer if you insist on doing it all.

Joe Piskepo

November 4th, 2011
4:10 pm

How concerned are you if you are encouraging kids to smoke dope in the off-season.

Concerned Dawg

November 4th, 2011
4:12 pm

idnt mean it that way genius I certainly hope he insist on not doing it at all.

ga gator

November 4th, 2011
4:14 pm

UGA like UF seems to have had a run on good running backs of low character (Rainey UF, Ealey, King and apparently Crowell). I watched the ESPN presentation on Hershel Walker last night and not only was he the best running back ever, he also was one of high character. I found most interesting that he almost quit UGA and joined the Marines but changed his mind when he went to practice and realized how much his teammates needed him. Consumate team player, much like Tim Tebow and there may never be another like them again.

ty webb

November 4th, 2011
4:19 pm

why don’t we ask Vandy’s recruits what they think UGA should do with respect to recruiting RB’s?

BigTimeTechFan

November 4th, 2011
4:21 pm

2 running backs from NC?
UGA fan’s won’t like that, They dogged Vad Lee and other recruits Tech signed for playing HS ball in NC.

Joe Piskepo

November 4th, 2011
4:22 pm

uga please stop looking for the next hershel walker it just aint happening. Try the next garrison herst or robert edwards. Stop selling uga on hershel.

Paddy

November 4th, 2011
4:24 pm

Real Dawg Fan…..conditioning can be coached? I can teach you how to throw a football. I can teach you how to be long snapper, etc. I can’t teach you how to condition your body without you putting forth maximum effort. IC will never be one of those great backs at UGA. I sure hope I am wrong but I don’t think I am. Because we as fans can see this kid slipping away, just think what our coaches are feeling about these turns of events. Their jobs are dependent on this less than hard working tailback.

I'm just saying

November 4th, 2011
4:28 pm

Does UGanja had out dime bags to potential signees?

Gutrake

November 4th, 2011
4:30 pm

The way I see it, UGA would have benefited from Crowell going to Tuscaloosa in the first place. Saban would’ve bitch-slapped him off the team eventually, Crowell would have learned a hard lesson, sat out a year and re-signed with UGA. Instead, now he will push the line with UGA, get kicked off the team and sign with another school (with his tail between his legs…) Truly hope that I am wrong, but…

tdawg

November 4th, 2011
4:35 pm

alright think about this. All of you calling Isaiah Crowell a thug would have called Herschel Walker a thug when he went to Georgia. He said he wanted to join the marines because he wanted to kill people because of his anger. Also you all are being racist because I have never heard anyone on this blog call a white guy a “thug”. Just because he is black and he does 1 thing wrong that makes him a thug?

Gutrake

November 4th, 2011
4:39 pm

tdawg, your name says it all…

GA Sandlapper

November 4th, 2011
4:40 pm

DREAM TEAM!!

Dabo and The Real Dream Team

November 4th, 2011
4:44 pm

Forget it Mutt fans Marshall is a lock for Clemson.

McDawg

November 4th, 2011
4:46 pm

guess who also smoked dope in college back in the early 80s

Fools Gold

November 4th, 2011
4:47 pm

UGA needs an Offensive Coordinator and an offensive line coach.

Better to Dope than Grope

November 4th, 2011
4:47 pm

pass them homies a spliff!

ga gator

November 4th, 2011
4:48 pm

tdawg, Obama is the worst prez since Jimmy Carter; does that make me a racist you moron?

Desert Dawg

November 4th, 2011
4:50 pm

If Richt and Bobo are the answer then someone is asking the wrong question.

Obama proved the R word is history

November 4th, 2011
4:51 pm

A thug is a thug whether from Norway, Sweden or Socotland or Spain or Italy OR inner city Newark, NJ. He acts like a thug, he walks like a thug, he talks like a thug and if his deeds are thugish, then he is a thug. Wheter he is named Lars or Hansel or Sean or Wilhelm or Willie or Buggy or Iggy, or has a FRO or gorgeous flowing, long, blonde hair.

Got it?