After a productive -- if injury-hampered -- freshman season, Isaiah Crowell has done well simply to enter Georgia's just-opened spring camp as the Bulldogs' No. 1 tailback, something Mark Richt confirmed Tuesday.
“That’s where he’s starting out,” Richt said.
But to hear Crowell tell it, he's got much, much bigger goals than simply hanging on to the starter's job.
“My first goal is just to be a good teammate and help my team get to the national championship,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “My second goal is I’m trying to run for the Heisman.”
Well, then, Isaiah. That's quite the aspiration considering you ran for 850 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011 -- a mere 1,070 yards and 28 touchdowns shy of Montee Ball's totals, still only good enough for fourth place in the balloting -- and will no doubt share a certain percentage of carries with Richard Samuel and highly regarded true freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. At least per the AJC, you don't seem completely serious:
Asked how realistic he thought his chances were for winning college football’s player of the year award, Crowell grinned and laughed. “Real realistic.”
As easy as it would be to dismiss Crowell's odds directly out of hand, the sophomore is at least in the sort of position necessary to make a run at the award. The Bulldogs are a projected top-10 team, deserving SEC East favorites, and darkhorse national title contender--the sort of squad that could give Crowell the stage necessary to mount a Heisman charge.
It doesn't hurt that after widespread doubts -- some of them more-or-less confirmed by his teammates -- that Crowell was less-than-fully-committed to the Dawgs' offseason preparations last year, all accounts (including Aaron Murray's) are that that's changed and Crowell is ready to seize the No. 1 job by the throat. It's not that difficult to envision a healthy, focused Crowell racking up 1,300 yards and 15-20 touchdowns for a top-five Dawg team, thereby tossing his name into the Heisman hat. Is it?
Maybe it should be. Considering that 1. even holding onto the lions's share of carries with Samuel and Marshall around is easier said than done 2. no matter how well Crowell performs, he's near-certain to be the second-best player on his own offense behind Murray, we can't go nearly as far as to call his Heisman chances "real realistic."
We'd describe them as "semi-plausible, if things go perfectly"--and humbly suggest Crowell not discuss them again, since it's not exactly the kind of talk that's going to dispel his reputation among certain Dawg fans for being more reputation than achievement.
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