This isn’t the first time a player has transferred to an FCS school after an off-the field issue. Isaiah Crowell isn’t even the only Georgia running back in recent years to do it. Washaun Ealey, former Georgia Bulldog turned Jacksonville State running back, is right back on NFL radars this year as an NFL Draft prospect.
That doesn’t mean it’s good news for Crowell to follow a similar path. The former 5-star recruit, freshman All-American, and 800+ yard rusher last year will move from the NFL’s minor league, the SEC, to Alabama State and the SWAC. All that being said, I’d be surprised if we don’t hear Crowell’s name in NFL Draft discussions soon.
Last year at Alabama State, undersized receiver Nick Andrews was the “featured” NFL Draft prospect at Alabama State.Andrews didn’t get drafted, and thanks to his lack of ideal height or speed to make up for it, he likely doesn’t have NFL asperations.
However, Alabama State has had the likes of Michael Coe (drafted in the 5th round in 2007) and Tavaris Jackson (2nd round in 2006) on their resume as draft selections in their history. And along with that history, the likes of Texas Southern, Alabama A&M, and Southern University all have had or do have NFL prospects on their roster. Crowell will get his looks the next 2-3 years at Alabama State.
And the former Bulldog does have NFL potential. Any rusher that can get 850 yards in his freshman season in the SEC will be noted by NFL teams. Bryce Brown of Kansas State last year didn’t even muster up that much in his rookie season at Tennessee. He never played another down of college football, and he still was a 7th round pick.
Crowell is well built, stays tight and balanced up and through the hole, and has the burst to fight through arm tackles and maintain his speed upfield. He has good, not great cuts in the open field, but that footwork in space will come with more time on the field. He flashed the vision in his initial break, but still lacks the second and third level anticipation to be an elite downfield runner. But again, that will come with time on the field and experience, something he’ll likely get both of in heavy doses at Alabama State.
But finally, let’s not forget why Crowell is at Alabama State: he was arrested and dismissed from the Georgia program. He was charged with posession of a concealed weapon, weapon in a school zone, and altering the ID on his weapon. Along with those major criminal charges that may result in as much as jail time, he also failed a drug test mid-season last year at Georgia, and faced displinary action on another occasion.
Prospects of Crowell’s caliber transfering down can face two paths. One, is the likes of Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins was blasted by some media as this dysfunctional mess that no NFL team should touch. Yet, anyone that met him, including NFL teams, noticed he had seen the error in his ways and was a very mature individual. Or, he can go the way of far too many talents with issues that transfer down. Struggle on the field due to laziness, add even more concerns off of it.
It’ll be up to Crowell to decide what his future will hold. He has the talent to dictate his NFL future. He has left tackle and fellow NFL prospect Terrence Jones paving the way for him. As an evaluator, I’ll be rooting for Crowell to find success, both on and off the field. But I, unfortunately, won’t hold my breath.