Confidence can be a very good character trait for a high school athlete. It sometimes helps separate the good from the great. Yet, occasionally, the pride that builds confidence can make a fall even more great, as all-everything senior running back Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus (Ga.) High found out this fall.
Crowell, universally considered one of the nation's top running back prospects, told the media before the season started that he could make his highly anticipated college decision after Carver-Columbus won the state championship game at the Georgia Dome. While that declaration was a clear case of brazen hubris, it also seemed to be shaping up nicely, with Carver holding up an undefeated season behind a squad full of top national prospects.
Then, as highlighted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell, a week ago Carver was upset by Calhoun (Ga.) High, 27-14, in the state semifinals. That loss meant that Carver and Crowell wouldn't ever see the Georgia Dome on state finals Friday, which cut off any chance the back had at announcing his decision there.
According to the Journal-Constitution, Crowell didn't take the loss well, either. The running back -- who finished with only 94 yards rushing -- received a penalty for taunting the Calhoun crowd after one explosive touchdown run, which was called back for an offensive penalty before the taunting. The AJC's Chip Towers reported that the star could easily have been flagged for a handful of other violations, too, all outshoots from his frustration at being limited by an impressive Calhoun defense, as you can see in the highlights from the game below.
"Calhoun did a great job on defense and tackled really well Friday night. They didn't allow any of the explosive runs he is accustomed to," Carver coach Dell McGee told the AJC. "Isaiah's a very competitive person and he wears his emotions on the outside sometimes. He's got to mature in that regard because it's definitely going to get tougher on the next level."
Perhaps ominously, Crowell had decided earlier in the week to delay his college choice until National Signing Day, where he will get even more attention than he would have on Friday. The senior has offers from 14 different schools -- including nearly the entire SEC -- and has yet to give any strong indication of which college he might be heading to.
Still, the entire episode highlights the ever-precarious nature of top high school recruits and the child-like over-exuberance or overconfidence that gets them to that point, and often precedes their downfall. Hopefully Crowell learns from the experience at the next level, and helps use the setback as motivation for a college career as dominant as the one he built during his high school years.