UGA's Isaiah Crowell jailed in Athens

June, 29, 2012
6/29/12
10:30
AM ET

Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell was arrested on weapons charges by Athens-Clarke County Police early Friday morning.

The rising sophomore was arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor, according to the jail booking report. He was charged with a felony count of possessing a weapon in a school zone; a felony count of altered identification mark; and a misdemeanor count of possession/carrying a concealed weapon.

Crowell was arrested at about 2:20 a.m. ET after being stopped at a vehicle checkpoint near campus, and he was booked at 3:37 a.m. His bond was set at $7,500, but was increased to $9,500 Friday afternoon.

This is yet again another Crowell-related distraction for the Bulldogs. If things weren't rocky enough after his up-and-down freshman year, Crowell's future with the Bulldogs could be in jeopardy now. Last year, Crowell was benched during the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game for disciplinary reasons and was later suspended for the New Mexico State game after reportedly failing a drug test.

This spring, Crowell vowed to turn things around, and those around him said they had seen a lot of change from the youngster, especially in the maturity department. This, however, appears to set Crowell back a ways.

Georgia's policy is to immediately suspend players from their respective teams if they are charged with felonies. You can bet that coach Mark Richt will absolutely do that with Crowell.

The fact that there was a gun -- with an altered ID number -- in the car that Crowell was driving is a major red flag. We obviously don't know all of the facts, or if the gun was his, but driving a car with a concealed weapon that's basically been tampered with lies on Crowell and his judgment.

That poor judgment could cost Crowell a lot when it comes to being a member of Georgia's football team.

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Crowell
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comRising UGA sophomore Isaiah Crowell was jailed following an early Friday morning arrest.
This isn't the first distraction the Bulldogs have dealt with this year. Rising senior cornerback Branden Smith was arrested in early March in Abbeville, Ala., and charged with marijuana possession. Sanders Commings was charged with domestic violence/simple battery on Jan. 21 after police accused him of striking his girlfriend during an argument in downtown Athens, Ga.

Safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree also are expected to be suspended to start the 2012 season after reportedly failing drug tests.

For a team looking to win the SEC and more, the Bulldogs aren't going into fall the right way.

While sitting with Richt in his office this spring, I asked him about Crowell and his jump from his freshman year to his first spring in Athens. Richt said he had certainly seen a difference in the way Crowell approached practice and his obligations away from the football field. He saw a tougher player who battled harder through the nicks he received in practice. He saw a more focused individual away from the field, as well.

But you could also tell that Richt was waiting to see what would happen after the spring. The pressure had certainly gotten to Crowell last year, but it seemed like he was managing it better. But what about summer, when the coaches aren't around?

So far, things haven't gone the way Richt would like.

If the charges are upheld and Crowell finds himself in a more difficult legal situation, Richt also will be in a tough situation. Will it be time to let the troubled back go? Will it be time to move on from the former top high school prospect?

The answer isn't clear right now, but what is is that Richt's other running backs will have to take even more advantage of the carries they receive once fall practice starts, regardless if Crowell is cleared. The coaches seem excited about their two high-profile backs they signed this year in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Marshall enrolled early and impressed this spring, while Gurley was expected to contribute from the start.

Don't forget about redshirt sophomore Ken Malcome. He had a very solid spring and actually was listed as a co-starter with Crowell coming out of spring.

When Crowell is at his best, there's no denying the talent he has. But there's also no denying the headaches he's caused this program. Having a mature, focused Crowell would be a plus for the Bulldogs, but too many distractions can ruin a team, especially one with title hopes like Georgia.

Richt could have a tough decision on his hands regarding Crowell's future.

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