Former Georgia football coach and current athletic director Vince Dooley said the Bulldogs losing Isaiah Crowell, “may have been the best thing to happen to them.”
Well, acquiring Crowell might have been the best thing to happen to Alabama State if you ask head coach Reggie Barlow and athletic director Stacy Danley.
Crowell, who was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2011 at Georgia before being dismissed from the team as a result of a weapons charge arrest in late June, arrives in Montgomery expected to shift the balance of power in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and in the Eastern Division.
ASU was selected by those in the prediction business to play in Birmingham during SWAC Media Day just a week ago in large part due to the addition of Crowell.
While Crowell has yet to garner single carry as a Hornet, it is probably safe to say he will enter the 2012 season as the team’s starting running back, and give a boost to a team that could have very well ended up in the conference championship game had they not gone .500 down the stretch to finish behind Alabama A&M in 2011.
“Any time you can get one of the best players in the country and add him into the mix, that brings another dimension,” said quarterback Greg Jenkins. “It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
Crowell should improve a Hornets running attack that finished second to last in total rushing (1,182), yards per carry (3.2) and yards per game (107.5). How inefficient was ASU’s on the ground a year ago? Jenkins was team’s second leading rusher with 330 yards.
Crowell’s 850 yards from a season ago would have led all Hornet ball carriers, including Quendarius McKibben and Tim Clark, who combined to rush for 666 yards on 163 attempts.
Only one question that remains for Crowell with almost a month to go before regular season opener: Can he live up to the hype?