UGA starting TB Washaun Ealey granted unconditional release by Bulldogs (UPDATED)

Washaun Ealey led the Bulldogs with 811 yards rushing and 11 TDs as a sophomore last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Washaun Ealey led the Bulldogs with 811 yards rushing and 11 TDs as a sophomore last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Athens – Can a team lose its leading rusher and actually become a better team?

The Georgia Bulldogs are about to find out. They granted Washaun Ealey — their starting tailback and an 800-yard rusher last season — his unconditional release on Monday.

The announcement was made in a vague, three-paragraph news release distributed by the UGA Sports Communication office Monday night. It was characterized as a mutual decision.

“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” head coach Mark Richt said in the release. “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”

Georgia officials confirmed that Ealey is academically eligible to play next season. Ealey could not be reached for comment so his next destination is unknown.

Ealey’s mother, Joanne Ealey, said she was unaware of this latest development.

“I don’t know anything about that,” she said. “I need to talk to my son.”

Ms. Ealey said her son had discussed the possibility of transferring to Georgia Southern or some other school in the past. She said she was OK with that, “as long as he’s getting an education.”

By granting Ealey his release, Ealey will be immediately eligible at a lower-division school. However, he would still have to sit out one season if he transfers to another Football Bowl Subdivision institution.

While the Bulldogs will be losing a productive back who showed flashes of brilliance, they will also be losing a disciplinary headache. Ealey was suspended at least twice in the last seven months and Richt was constantly on him to conduct himself “the Georgia Way.”

Richt hinted that relations between Ealey and the team were still strained late last month when he was asked about the him during a meeting of the Augusta Bulldog Club.

“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” Richt said. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see.”

Ealey was suspended indefinitely from the team in February for missing an early-morning disciplinary run. He was reinstated in time for spring practice in March but was sidelined with a hamstring injury after only four practices and did not practice again. He was also suspended from last season’s opener because of an arrest for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Richt was particularly upset about that incident because Ealey had assured coaches he wouldn’t drive while his license was suspended.

A rising junior from Stillmore, Ealey played in 21 games for the Bulldogs with nine starts, including seven last season. He rushed 1,528 yards and 14 touchdowns in two seasons at Georgia.

Ealey’s status as starting tailback was already in jeopardy. He was benched early last season due to fumbling issues. And the Bulldogs in February signed Isaiah Crowell, the nation’s No. 1-ranked running back prospect. They also return senior Caleb King, junior Carlton Thomas and redshirt freshman Ken “Boo” Malcome at the position.

Milan Turner, Ealey’s high school coach at Emmanuel County Institute, said he had not yet talked to Ealey but planned to sometime later Monday night.

Ealey was one of two players Georgia signed out of ECI in 2009. The other one, linebacker Dexter Moody, had his letter-of-intent revoked shortly after national signing day due to a major disciplinary infraction at the high school.

483 comments Add your comment

josh

May 9th, 2011
7:26 pm

Bud Mc

May 9th, 2011
7:27 pm

Addition by subtraction as one blogger has put it. These kids just don’t get it.

TROTTINGHOME

May 9th, 2011
7:28 pm

ok so who might the new top dawg be??

Glenn

May 9th, 2011
7:28 pm

We are better off with out him, he is not a team player, I wish him the best.

Adam

May 9th, 2011
7:28 pm

Hate to see him go. I think he had potential if he ever got his act together.

TruthSeeker

May 9th, 2011
7:29 pm

No big loss. Crowell and Malcome were going to significantly cut into Ealey’s carries this year. If Ealey had stuck around I imagine that he would have probably gotten lost in the shuffle as the third or fourth back.

Sad to see that Washaun’s career didn’t pan out. He joins the likes of Jasper Sanks, Michael Cooper, and Caleb King as highly-recruited UGA running backs in recent years who never quite lived up to the hype.

Glenn

May 9th, 2011
7:29 pm

He wasnt it for sure.

bigdsel

May 9th, 2011
7:29 pm

I cant believe that ealey would rather leave than try to make UGA better, What a quitter

Birdman

May 9th, 2011
7:29 pm

Good riddance. He became a distraction. Was a great talent but continued his off the field behavior. Good luck.

ryan

May 9th, 2011
7:30 pm

Hey Chip do think reason Richt wanted to get rid of Ealey of course is Crowell two he had enough and three to open a spot up for Kieth Marshall .

We run .....

May 9th, 2011
7:30 pm

So which state will he be running now . . . .

red&silver

May 9th, 2011
7:30 pm

One less bad apple!

Reaper

May 9th, 2011
7:31 pm

One headache gone. This opens up another scholorship for a RB that can come in an be productive both on the off the field. UGA needs to bring in two solid RBs in the next class and I hope we do a better job evaluating the talent. There are still several good RBs out there and maybe we should consider recruiting in the NE and harder in Fla.. These kids have to learn what discipline is all about. You have to grow up and make proper decisions. Good riddence and King will be next. The rest of the RBs have to step up and the line is going to have to block a 100% better than they did last year.

Calhoundawg

May 9th, 2011
7:32 pm

The culture is truly changing at UGA . As far as I’m concerned, he’s just one less arrest waiting to happen. That car driving incident last year was pathetic…

jackson

May 9th, 2011
7:33 pm

Many on this blog have predicted this for weeks. I don’t really have a problem with it but why unconditional? Don’t think he should be allowed to transfer withing the SEC.

Herschel

May 9th, 2011
7:34 pm

Just another guy who WASN’T the 2nd coming of ME…

Calhoundawg

May 9th, 2011
7:34 pm

I think he’d be a good fit at Tennessee with Da’Rick Rogers … just sayin’.

Jadeveon Clowney

May 9th, 2011
7:35 pm

Reaper

May 9th, 2011
7:35 pm

@ Ryan. Why would a HC want to keep a player like this while he is trying to turn this program around? CMR didn’t get rid of him, he got rid of himself. He can only blame himself.

jackson

May 9th, 2011
7:35 pm

“within”

chickenman

May 9th, 2011
7:36 pm

Good riddance… im sorry dawg nation but this guy was always getting in trouble and finally we can get ready for Crowell. I for one believe ken malcome is a better back than ealey and king…(he just cant stay healthy) but haha neither can King.

Good luck to Ealey but hes not nfl material so whats the point… hopefully he can stay out of trouble in juco.

Now we know Issiah will be the starter… get your popcorn ready

The Original WDE

May 9th, 2011
7:37 pm

I’m surprised yall didn’t close comments.

Another overhyped UGA recruit with attitude problems.

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

May 9th, 2011
7:38 pm

Too bad. But sometimes you have to cut your losses.

Good luck in Statesboro, Washaun!

Fridawg

May 9th, 2011
7:39 pm

I remember hearing buzz about a transfer last year. Who was his “buddy” that he wanted to play with? I can’t recall right now.

ryan

May 9th, 2011
7:40 pm

Hey @Reaper i agree i am glad we got rid of this problem Richt finally showing some toughness and also could be a blessing gives us greater chance to get Kieth Marshall .

Jeff

May 9th, 2011
7:41 pm

I bet he’ll end up in the state of Florida.

Typical College Football Fanatic

May 9th, 2011
7:42 pm

I liked him when I thought he was a good player, but since he wasn’t as good as I hoped, I don’t care about him in the least. If you’re not going to entertain me on saturday, you’re of no use to me.

King Gator

May 9th, 2011
7:42 pm

He had a better chance of getting is driver’s license back than seeing any meaningful playing time the Dawgs this year. Good luck at Marshall W.E. Let’s see if I-Crow is for real. Go Gators!

The Rock

May 9th, 2011
7:42 pm

The Rock says: IT’S ABOUT TIME! He was a cancer that had to be excised from the team. Good luck to whoever gets him, your local Police Force will get to know him well……

MDAWG24

May 9th, 2011
7:42 pm

Saw this coming… It was just a matter of time. Wish him well on completing his education.

See ya

May 9th, 2011
7:43 pm

Good move UGA. This shows everyone that the dawgs are more than just a football university. I hear Auburn will give $200,000 for a decent running back.

ThisGuy

May 9th, 2011
7:45 pm

CMR gave this kid so many chances to grow up. NEWS FLASH it isn’t high school where you get to do whatever you want because your a football player. Definitely addition by subtraction. he never seemed to really put in all the effort and work needed. (neither does Caleb King for that matter) Not having him around passing on bad habit to younger guys will be an improvement and a positive impact on the team as a whole.

Flying Tigers

May 9th, 2011
7:46 pm

Just another one of the low life recruits at uga, about the same as a third of the recruits they sign, and they wonder why they have become so irrelevant the past 3 or 4 years now. It is pretty apparent to most everyone but ugag fans and I quess their great coach, as he will tell you their program is in “good hands”, he knows what the “hell” he is doing…LMAO. Maybe he should make an insurance commercial instead for the good hands people. Maybe he could do a better job at that than he has done coaching the last 4 years. Besides, when he starts 0 and 2 this year he will need a new job…

UGA UBA Hypocrite

May 9th, 2011
7:46 pm

Which poor soul gets his walking papers next?

RabidDawgFan

May 9th, 2011
7:46 pm

Oh well. Now Crowell is basically locked in as our starter. King sure isn’t going to be the guy, and Malcome can’t stay healthy and Carlton Thomas is a midget and too small to go pound for pound with SEC defenses. Crowell better be ready to run that rock against Boise and the rest of the teams. I sure hope so. We may be ready to witness something special. Hopefully he rushes for 150+ on Boise State. Take some of that pressure off Murray. Goo Dawgs!

powerhouse?

May 9th, 2011
7:47 pm

is this the new Goergia way?

rocketfuel

May 9th, 2011
7:49 pm

The Original WDE.The Original Auburn Ass Clown Fan.Good luck to you and the rest of “The East Alabama SheepHumpers ” next year

SSIgator

May 9th, 2011
7:49 pm

He will probably end up at auburn, they take these types (see cam newton)

RabidDawgFan

May 9th, 2011
7:50 pm

Maybe it is powerhouse, we don’t need cancers and people that are going to make the University of Georgia look bad. Ealey did that and he’s gone. So far we haven’t gotten into any trouble whatsoever and if we keep that up and work hard, we’ll crush Boise on September 3rd because we’re hungry, dedicated, and we are just simply more talented than Boise. I don’t think Boise survives. They will hang tough for a while, but eventually we’re wear them out.

Mark (another one)

May 9th, 2011
7:53 pm

I won’t jump on the young man while he’s down. Good luck to him and I hope he figures out life is based on responsibilities. He’s young and he has time to get it right. I hope his transfer allows him to find his path.

Georgia Sucks

May 9th, 2011
7:53 pm

Another typical mutt. UGA is on there way to 6 wins.

blazer

May 9th, 2011
7:54 pm

gotta make room for the incoming stud!! Funny how they run them off when they don’t

need them anymore!

St. Clarkston

May 9th, 2011
7:54 pm

I hate to see a talented tailback leave, but he couldn’t keep his head in the game. Goodbye.

BigDawg

May 9th, 2011
7:54 pm

Washed up Ealey! So much talent, what a waste!

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 9th, 2011
7:54 pm

“Ugery” is out at UGA. Our pockets are deep, old and tired of it thus our AD hire. Saint Mark will have to do the GA way, NOW.

catlady

May 9th, 2011
7:56 pm

(Not the) King is next. Georgia can at least salvage some respect OFF the field. It is funny how discipline and responsibility in one area can lead to discipline and responsibility in another area. Georgia needs to quit recruiting guys who are hyped but don’t have discipline and stick-to-it-ness.

ringleader

May 9th, 2011
7:57 pm

LSU………….

bigguy

May 9th, 2011
7:57 pm

Another hit and run?

sheepdawg

May 9th, 2011
7:57 pm

damn, washaun was the consumate UGA student athlete, his leadership will be sorely missed. but CMR has recruited some fine upstanding characters for replacements, we can all rest assured…….

WDE Fool

May 9th, 2011
7:57 pm

You’re right original, much better to have armed robbery problems. WDE!!!