February 2, 2011

Crowell didn't get a hard sell

As Isaiah Crowell's main contact among the Georgia staff, Bulldog running backs coach Brian McClendon said he didn't use the hard sell on the former Carver star in order to convince him to come to Athens.

Actually, it was quite the opposite.

"You get into recruiting and sometimes guys want to be salesmen," McClendon said. "But the thing that me and Isaiah did is, I just think we connected well. We could get on the phone and just talk. We could just talk about a sports game that's on or we could just talk about things he was going through or things that I might have been going through.

"That's something that helped more than anything. I just got to know him and he got to know me."

Plus, McClendon smiled, he knew the five-star standout was getting plenty of sales pitches from other schools.

With good reason:

The nation's fourth-best running back according to Rivals.com, Crowell's numbers at Carver were truly eye-popping after rushing for 1,772 yards and 18 touchdowns following a junior campaign which saw him gallop for 1,915 yards and 25 scores.

Crowell ran the 100 meters with a time of 11.09 last year to win the Region 3-AAA crown. Considering the muscular back weighs 210 pounds, that's not too bad.

McClendon almost gushes when talking about the player he believes can become a future star.

"I tell you, he's his own man. He's a guy who's in a league of his own coming out of high school," McClendon said. "I haven't seen anybody who just looks as impressive coming out of high school at that position than I have seen as him. Only God knows what's going to happen in the future, but he's definitely in a league of his own as far as guys coming out."

The Bulldogs have been hot on Crowell's trail for two years prior to his decision Wednesday to join Georgia program.

"If you watch Isaiah play, and obviously we start by looking at film, we ask ourselves can this guy fit the job description and help do what we need to do and compete to win the SEC?" head coach Mark Richt said. "Of course, Isaiah has a lot of those skills. He's got great size, strength, speed agility, he's got great hands. We had him in camp this summer and we got to see him run routes and catch the ball. He's a versatile guy, but he's also just a great kid."

He's also a lifelong Bulldog fan, a fact Richt does not dismiss.

"Isaiah grew up wanting to be a Bulldog," Richt said. "When guys grow up wanting to be a Bulldog, I think when things get tough during the off-season strength program, during camp or learning the system, I think that it just helps them fights through the tough part when they realize this is what they always wanted to do."

Earlier, Richt raised some eyebrows when he suggested on ESPNU that Crowell would likely get the first carry when the Bulldogs open the 2011 season against Boise State in the Georgia Dome.

Richt also made it clear that nobody on the Bulldogs should consider their job safe.

McClendon replied, "Nobody should and I'm glad that Coach said what he did. Everything from here on out is going to be earned. You've got him, you've got Ken Malcolm, another guy in the fold now with a year under his belt that I think can help us too. But definitely Isaiah he has a lot of talent and I do think he is motivated to come here and play."

McClendon admitted it was Crowell or broke.

Although the Bulldogs talked to other backs, there was never any question whom the top target was going to be.

However, McClendon admits the thought of Crowell going somewhere else always was in the back of his mind.

"Oh yeah, it definitely crosses your mind but it worked out like it was supposed to and it worked out how we intended," McClendon said. "It wasn't like we weren't going after anybody else, but when it was all said and done, he was the guy we felt like was worth all the time and effort to do what we did."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!