Posted by Adam Jacobi
Running back Washaun Ealey will transfer from Georgia, the school announced today. Georgia has granted Ealey, a junior-to-be from Stillmore, GA, an unconditional release, so he's free to join the school of his choice for the 2011 academic year.
"Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks," said head coach Mark Richt in a statement released today. "We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest."
Ealey had been the Bulldogs' leading rusher in 2010, tallying 811 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground in 12 games while splitting time with junior tailback Caleb King. Neither back was particularly effective, and Georgia went 6-7 in a season that had started with much, much higher hopes.
Unfortunately for Ealey, he fell out of the good graces of Richt and the program in February, and he was suspended from the team for what ended up being 18 days. His return was scarcely better, as injuries kept him out of all but four spring practices. That led to this surprising statement from Richt at a booster meeting two weeks ago:
“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” Richt told the room. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see. I love him, though.”
At the point of a coach making public statements like that, a transfer seems almost inevitable, and that's what we got here. There's no telling as yet where Ealey's headed; often, players transfer closer to home, but seeing as how Ealey's from Stillmore, he can't really get much closer than Georgia. Also, there's no indication if he's going the FBS or FCS route. Being that he was a starting tailback, it seems like there's no shortage of FBS teams that'd like to get him in their backfield, but the real issue is whether he'd rather play one year of FBS ball or two of FCS -- especially if there's no guarantee that he'd start at an FBS school.
Ealey's transfer paves the way for King to take over the starting RB role, but highly touted freshman Isaiah Crowell could make a major push. If Crowell's good enough to overtake King in Week 1, look out: Crowell could make a Marcus Lattimore-style impact on the SEC this year.