HOOVER, Ala. -- Isaiah Crowell's dismissal certainly drew the most national attention, but his departure continued a steady trend that has become a concern for Georgia coach Mark Richt.
Richt’s program has lost nine players since last preseason to transfers and dismissals, leaving the number of Bulldogs on scholarship in the low 70s -- well below the NCAA limit of 85.
“There’s been more attrition in the last couple years than there’s been since I’ve been at Georgia,” Richt said Thursday morning at SEC media days. “But I think sometimes that happens. We’ll still have plenty of guys to field a team.”
Richt publicly addressed Crowell’s departure for the first time Thursday. Last season’s SEC Freshman of the Year, Crowell was arrested on June 29 on three handgun possession charges -- two of which were felonies -- and Richt dismissed him from the team later in the day.
Although Crowell had several disciplinary issues while at Georgia, Richt said the decision was still painful when he decided to kick the running back off the team.
“No decision to dismiss a guy from the team is an easy decision,” Richt said. “It’s always tough because I care very much about all these guys and having to make those kinds of decisions are tough. But in the end, I think we did what’s in the best interest of the program and I really do wish Isaiah the very best in his future. Hopefully things work out for him.”
Crowell transferred to Alabama State two weeks ago, where he will be able to play this fall without sitting out a season.
His teammate at Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., Bulldogs All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones, said he hopes the change of scenery will benefit his longtime friend.
“I told him I’m always there for you. I know people make mistakes,” Jones said. “Obviously he would never want to be in this situation. The guy was doing so great. He was becoming a leader, he was training hard, going to class, doing what he was supposed to do and a situation like this happens. It’s kind of devastating.
“The only thing you can do now is just make the best decision from now on and that’s what I told him. Sometimes those things, they put you at the bottom of the pole to make you realize you’re not headed in the right direction.”