In a decision that will surely surprise some, ousted Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell has decided to transfer to Alabama State University.
Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow confirmed Crowell’s transfer in a phone conversation Thursday evening. He said the rising sophomore has already registered for classes at the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) school in Montgomery, Ala., and will begin classes on Monday. Pending the outcome of his court case on three weapons charges, Crowell will play football for the Hornets this fall.
“We’re going to show him how we do things and let him turn the page,” said Barlow, the Hornets’ coach since 2007. “We’re giving him an opportunity to start over.”
Crowell was dismissed by the Bulldogs this past Friday, just 13 hours after he was pulled over and arrested at a road block. He was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor after a 9-mm Luger handgun with a scratched-off serial number was found underneath the driver’s seat of the 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis he was driving. Crowell this week retained the services of high-profile Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Steve Sadow to represent him on those charges.
Barlow said Crowell’s legal troubles were taken into consideration and discussed at length among Alabama State administrators.
“The court system is the court system,” Barlow said. “That will be worked out over there [in Athens]. As far as us, he left Georgia in good academic standing. We know he’s a young man who has made some mistakes and has has learned from them and we’re going to give him a chance to restore his credibility.”
Crowell was Georgia’s leading rusher this past season with 850 yards and five touchdowns and was named SEC Freshman of the Year by The Associated Press. But he was twice suspended from games due to team policy infractions and was unable to play most of the last four games due to an ankle injury.
Barlow believes the Hornets are getting a very special player.
“Well, that’s an understatement,” said Barlow, a former NFL wide receiver. “If you’ve got eyes you’ve seen him. He can play. He’d be a great player on any level. We’ve had SEC players here before. It won’t be a walk in the park. But obviously he has some skills few others have.”
Barlow said there could be some unexpected good fortune in it for the Bulldogs. He said the last three times he has had players transfer to Alabama State from SEC schools, those schools went on to win national championships the coming season.
“That’s no lie,” he said of Alabama, Florida and Auburn. “I think there’s something to it. So tell the Bulldogs to be ready.”
NOTE: In other news Thursday, redshirt sophomore linebacker Brandon Burrows of Marietta has decided to transfer due to a lack of playing time or prospects at Georgia.
Burrows issued a statement through UGA.
“I came out of high school playing the defensive end position in a 4-3 defense which is what I truly love,” said Burrows, who was redshirted as a freshman in 2010 and missed the 2011 season due to a shoulder injury.”The coaching change here led to a 3-4 defense. I have worked with that transition but decided that I want to get back to playing defensive end. I think another program may give me the best opportunity to succeed at that. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity Coach Richt has given me at UGA and for the fact that he gave me an unconditional release. I know I’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of coaches and players that will develop into the leaders and friends that I have known here in Athens.”
Said coach Mark Richt: “Brandon is an outstanding person, student-athlete and has a wonderful family. We’ve enjoyed having him as part of our program and will provide whatever assistance we can in his transition. I am completely understanding of his decision and wish him nothing but the best.”