In a decision that will surely surprise some, ousted Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell has decided to transfer to Alabama State University.
Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow confirmed Crowell’s transfer Thursday. Crowell registered for classes at the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) school on Thursday in Montgomery, Ala., and will begin classes Monday. Pending the outcome of his court case on three weapons charges, Crowell will play football for the Hornets this fall.
“We’re going to show him how we do things and let him turn the page,” said Barlow, the Hornets’ coach since 2007. “We’re giving him an opportunity to start over.”
Crowell, a rising sophomore, was dismissed by the Bulldogs last Friday. He was arrested at 2:20 a.m. earlier that day and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor after a 9-mm Luger handgun with a defaced serial number was found underneath the driver’s seat of the 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis he was driving. Crowell this week retained the services of high-profile Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Steve Sadow to represent him on those charges.
Barlow said Crowell’s legal troubles were taken into consideration and discussed at length among Alabama State administrators. In the end, they decided “The court system is the court system,” Barlow said. “That will be worked out over there (in Athens). As far as us, he left Georgia in good academic standing. We know he’s a young man who has made some mistakes and has learned from them and we’re going to give him a chance to restore his credibility.”
Crowell was Georgia’s leading rusher with 850 yards and five touchdowns last season and was named SEC Freshman of the Year by The Associated Press. But he was twice suspended from games because of team policy infractions and was unable to play most of the last four games because of an ankle injury.
Barlow said he believes the Hornets are getting a special player.
“Well, that’s an understatement,” said Barlow, a former NFL wide receiver. “If you’ve got eyes you’ve seen him. He can play.
“He’d be a great player on any level. We’ve had SEC players here before. It won’t be a walk in the park. But obviously he has some skills few others have.”
Barlow said there could be some unexpected good fortune in it for the Bulldogs. He said the last three times he has had players transfer to Alabama State from SEC schools, those schools went on to win national championships the coming season.
“That’s no lie,” he said of Alabama, Florida and Auburn. “I think there’s something to it. So tell the Bulldogs to be ready.”