The news is predictable and sad.
Predictable in that it seems we’ve been waiting on this to happen for a while now. Mark Richt has not been pleased with Ealey since before the 2010 season – perhaps before that (but he’s not said so).
Ealey couldn’t stay out of Richt’s doghouse. First he was arrested for driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident before the 2010 season. Then, a few days after Signing Day in February, Ealey was banned from the team, but Richt didn’t say what for.
“We have certain expectations and standards that apply to all our student-athletes," Richt said at the time in a statement of Ealey.
It’s sad that Ealey won’t finish up at Georgia – a place where it seemed he could be a solid contributor over the last two years of his career. In fact, it is always sad when players don’t get their entire four years in at the school they sign with out of high school.
Ealey seemed to set the world on fire at times – giving Georgia a spark in the last half of 2009 and against Kentucky in 2010. He also was the cause of consternation of the Bulldog Nation: fumbling near the end zone in critical losses to Kentucky in 2009 and South Carolina and Mississippi State in 2010.
Ealey’s career at Georgia is about as up and down as it gets. Richt’s critics would say he coulnd’t control Ealey. Then again, a player has to want to be coached… it remains unclear if that was the case with Ealey, but signs are that he didn’t.
But what’s all of this say about Mark Richt’s mood these days? He just let the Dawgs’ returning leading rusher go before what is considered by most the most important season of his tenure in Athens. Some, including the author, say that Ealey would have been the third-string tailback coming into the fall anyway.
But that overlooks the fact that in the SEC you need running backs – the more the better. Caleb King has been fine when healthy, but even he’s aggravated Richt over the years. Isaiah Crowell? He’s as good a running back I have seen play in high school in the last ten years… but high school isn’t the SEC (note: with all of that said – Crowell is going to be a star).
Maybe Ealey didn’t like what Richt had to say about Crowell on Signing Day: “I wouldn't be shocked to see him run that rock in the (Georgia) Dome against Boise State on the opening play if he does what he's supposed to do.”
Maybe Ealey didn’t like what Richt said at the Augusta Bulldog Club meeting a few weeks ago: “Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now.”
The writing was on the wall – Ealey wasn’t going to play a lot at Georgia in 2011, and it wasn’t exclusively because he was going to be the third-best back in the fall.
No matter what side you end up on the fact that Ealey won’t end his career at Georgia is predictable and sad.
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