When Georgia opened spring football practice Tuesday, running back Isaiah Crowell found himself the spring starter.
It was a major promotion for the sophomore-to-be considering his freshman season was riddled highs and lows. He was suspended twice and suffered an ankle injury that kept him hobbled the better part of the year. Despite those hiccups, Crowell led the Bulldogs with 185 carries for 850 yards and five touchdowns.
And now, as he heads into his second season, Crowell has loftier goals than just wanting to be the starter in a crowded backfield. He wants some major hardware when the season concludes.
"My first goal is to be a good teammate, help my team get to the national championship," Crowell told media after practice. "My second goal, I'm trying to run for the Heisman."
The Heisman, huh? Well, I appreciate Crowell for aiming high. Though he's going to need to be a lot better on and off the field. Crowell was suspended for the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game for undisclosed academic issues. He was suspended again in early November for testing positive for marijuana use.
On the field, Crowell's rushing numbers weren't stellar. He ranked seventh in the SEC and 71st nationally. As a whole, Georgia's rushing offense ranked seventh in the conference and 49th nationally with 164 yards per game.
Even though Georgia announced prior to Tuesday's practice that senior Carlton Thomas, who had been suspended three times, had left the program for other opportunities, the backfield is still crowded. Besides Crowell, there's also Ken Malcome, Richard Samuel, Brandon Harton and freshman Keith Marshall.
And don't forget highly-touted incoming recruit Todd Gurley, who could unseat them all.
"We do have a good bunch of backs right now, no doubt about that," Richt said. "They're a talented bunch. We'll see how well we block up front and how well they do the little things, like secure the ball and pass protect and those things. But we certainly have some guys to work with."
Crowell hopes he's the guy Richt looks to first. While his maturity has been in question, Crowell said he's aware of the criticism and is working this offseason to be a better and more productive player for the Bulldogs.
"I really got used to it now, because I know everybody's going to be (watching me)," Crowell said. "I just know what to expect."
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