August 7, 2009

Ealey not making any bold predictions

Washuan Ealey has a preseason mantra rang which repeatedly during his first face time with Georgia beat writers.

The highly-touted freshman from ECI reported to school in excellent shape, and through the Bulldogs' first three days of preseason drills, appears fully capable of being part of the running back mix.

But as the proverbial new kid on the block, Ealey isn't about to make any bold predictions about what to expect his first year wearing the Red and Black.

Right now, he just wants to fit in.

"Right now all I'm doing is giving 100 percent and listen to the coaches," Ealey said matter-of-factly.

Those words found themselves repeated at least four times through the five-minute interview.
"I just listen to the coaches and the other running backs," he said. "I just let them tell me what to do and I try to go out and do it."

Although it remains to be seen how much time Ealey will see, running backs coach Bryan McClendon has made it clear the completion for playing time at running back is wide open for the freshmen, along with returnees Caleb King, Richard Samuel, Dontavius Jackson and Carlton Thomas.

Recently, head coach Mark Richt seemed to lend credence to that when he said that all of Georgia's freshmen skill players would likely get the chance to play right away.

"He didn't really tell us that, but I had heard that he said it," Ealey said. "It makes you feel. It makes you want to do your best so you will be ready."

At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Ealey comes to Athens following one of the most storied careers in Georgia prep football history.

As a junior, Ealey set the state record for touchdowns with 50, finishing his career with 8,108 yards and 133 touchdowns.

But Ealey has quickly learned that what you did in high school don't matter a whole lot once you get to college.

"I'm just starting all over again," he said. "I'm at the bottom of the totem pole. I've just got to work hard and hope I can compete to get back on top."
Fortunately, Ealey says he's getting a lot of assistance along the way.

"All the guys are helping me, Caleb, Carlton, Dontavius, Richard, Coach B-Mac (McClendon)," Ealey said. "Coach has really done a good job with me in the meetings. Sometimes I'll meet with him before our meetings to work on some plays."

Ealey's just happy to be in Athens getting his opportunity.

After graduating, Ealey's arrival was delayed for approximately two weeks until the NCAA Clearinghouse gave its final approval.

He admits there were some anxious moments.

"It (getting cleared) was a big relief. It took a lot off my shoulders because it meant I could come here and focus on working hard," Ealey said. "It wasn't a big concern, but at the same time I was glad when it was over."

Now, Ealey's eyes are set squarely on his future.

The ankle injury he suffered in the third round of last year's Class A state playoffs is 100 percent, and claims he's back to being the runner he was before it occurred.

"I'm a downhill runner. I just try to get to the end zone," Ealey said when asked to describe his running style. "I run hard. I'll take the hits as they come. I think I've got good power and good speed. If I have to lower my shoulder, I'll lower my shoulder. If I have to use my speed, I'll use my speed. Whatever I need to do, I'll do."

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