Georgia RBs in trouble is nothing new

June, 29, 2012
6/29/12
4:32
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Isaiah Crowell's arrest early Friday morning on three weapons charges -- two of which are felonies -- adds to the lengthy list of disciplinary issues experienced by Georgia's tailbacks in recent years.

Multiple Georgia running backs have dealt with legal, academic and disciplinary problems in the last few years, with several leaving the program prior to completing their eligibility.

Crowell joined that list Friday afternoon when he was dismissed from the team.

Crowell ran into trouble at least twice last season, as Bulldogs coach Mark Richt benched him for the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game for breaking undisclosed team rules and suspended him for the New Mexico State game for failing a drug test.

Friday's on-campus arrest for misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, felony weapons possession on school property and felony possession of a handgun with an altered serial number could potentially carry much more severe punishments. Crowell could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence between two and 10 years if found guilty of weapons possession on school property, and a guilty verdict for criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark carries a sentence between one and five years.

UGA's policy for felony arrests calls for an immediate suspension from athletic competition. Afterward, a committee consisting of four senior athletic association administrators are to review the facts of the case and recommend penalties to athletics director Greg McGarity. According to Georgia's student-athlete handbook, "these recommendations may include, but are not limited to, dismissal from the team, suspension from competition, reduction in aid and/or cancellation of athletic aid."

Crowell is only the most recent in a host of tailbacks to depart under less-than-ideal circumstances:

• Rising senior Carlton Thomas announced in March that he would transfer to another program following a junior season in which he served three separate one-game suspensions. One of the suspensions was for failing a drug test before the New Mexico State game, along with Crowell and fellow tailback Ken Malcome.

Caleb King left the Bulldogs last summer after being declared academically ineligible. Following his arrival at Georgia as one of the nation's most highly recruited tailbacks, King encountered several disciplinary issues at Georgia even before the academic problems forced him to miss his senior season.

• King's backfield mate Washaun Ealey also was arrested during his time in Athens before getting suspended by Richt and eventually coming to a "mutual decision" with the coach that he should transfer elsewhere.

• Backup tailback Dontavius Jackson was arrested for DUI and other charges in July 2010. Richt first handed him a six-game suspension before Jackson opted instead to transfer.

None of those players faced felony charges, either, so Crowell's future as a Bulldog is uncertain at best.

Georgia addressed depth concerns at the position in the offseason, signing two heavily recruited tailbacks in its most recent recruiting class: Keith Marshall, the fifth overall prospect on the ESPN 150, and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs also return Malcome, who sat alongside Crowell atop the tailback depth chart at the end of spring practice, Brandon Harton and Richard Samuel, who split time between tailback and fullback in the spring.

The group enjoyed a talent upgrade when Marshall and Gurley arrived and brought more acceptable depth, but Georgia's backfield lacks much experience. The five tailbacks have only nine career starts between them -- six by Samuel early in the 2009 season before losing the starting job to King and Ealey -- and 1,189 career rushing yards.

Crowell rushed for 850 yards last season alone en route to SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

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