Isaiah Crowell, as mentioned many times before, was the top running back recruit in the 2011 class. He had a fantastic career at Carver High School in Columbus, GA. From the day that he signed with Georgia, the talk was that he would automatically become the best running back on the team and would be one of the offense’s focal point. The pressure only grew with the transfer of Washaun Ealey, and now people are really looking for the 18-year-old to provide a serious impact on the 2011 season.
Freshman backs have had different levels of success at Georgia, whether redshirt or true, and I and many others are hoping that Crowell ends up on the positive side of things.
Great freshman seasons at Georgia started with Herschel Walker, who rushed for an NCAA record at the time with 1,616 yards as a true freshman, not counting the 150 he added on In the National Championship game against Notre Dame, as well as 15 touchdowns. Walker, of course, would go on to become one of the best players to ever lace up the cleats in the college game.
Tim Worley would soon follow with a solid freshman campaign himself, finishing second on the 1985 Georgia team with 627 yards and led the team with 10 touchdowns. Worley ended his career with just over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards a carry. He was an All American in 1988 when he rushed for 1,216 yards.
Garrison Hearst led the 1990 Georgia team in rushing with 717 yards and five touchdowns. He would become a top notch player while he was a Bulldog, and in his junior season finished third in Heisman voting when he rushed for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Thomas Brown, who is helping out with the team and Crowell now, was an All-SEC back when he rushed for 875 yards and eight touchdowns. Brown become a fan favorite and was productive throughout his career.
As redshirt freshman, Knowshon Moreno burst onto the college football scene as Brown entered his senior year. The younger Moreno stole the show with 1,396 yards and 14 touchdowns. He only played one more season for Georgia before heading to the NFL, but the 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns made it one of the best rushing seasons in Georgia history.
The aforementioned Washaun Ealey led the team in rushing as a freshman in 2009 despite not playing until the fifth game of the season. He picked up 717 yards and three touchdowns. He would lead the team in rushing as a sophomore with 818 yards and 11 touchdowns. This included a 157-yard and school-record five rushing touchdown game against Kentucky.
So, which comparison will Crowell fit in?
If I had to guess, I would say the Tim Worley season would be what I would look for, though with a better overall career. The hope is that he nearly matched Moreno’s season, but the chances aren’t very likely to say the least.
I would think somewhere between Worley and Brown is what should be expected, though expectations may be more in the Moreno range. Only time, and Caleb King’s performance, will tell exactly how much of an impact Crowell will have on the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs.
All yardage totals were picked up via sicemdawgs.com and ESPN.com. The following video is yet another highlight reel of Crowell.