In case you missed it (and if you did, I hope you enjoyed your trip to Gambia), Emanuel County Institute junior tailback Washaun Ealey committed to the University of Georgia on Monday. Ealey has become a bit of a legend over the past few months as he obliterated the state record for touchdowns in a season previously held by former Buford/ Notre Dame tailback Darius Walker. If you have no idea who Washaun Ealey is, allow me to fill you in with not just a little bit of information, but too much information about ECI tailback Washaun Ealey.
The Numbers: Ealey's stats are simply mindblowing. #3 went for 2982 yards (198.8 per game) and 58 touchdowns during his junior campaign, while leading his team to the Class A State Championship. Ealey stands an excellent chance of breaking the career touchdown record of 105 held by former Worth County and LSU standout Robert Toomer. Washaun is 5'11 and 205 pounds, but looks like he will get bigger. He's reputed to be a weightroom junky, which is never a bad thing.
The Pro: Ealey has outstanding vision and balance. He also runs harder than just about any high school tailback I've ever seen. The guy has an uncanny ability to "get skinny" through holes then pop out the other side for big gains. The 60 yard touchdown runs don't impress me all that much though. Lots of high school backs can outrun some 10th grade safety to the endzone. Instead, what amazes me about Ealey is that he will literally crawl over defenders for an extra 4 yards (see for example the play which begins at the 1:30 mark of this video) then jog back to the huddle, much like a certain New Jersey-generated tailback who's #24 in your programs and #1 in your hearts. Ealey looks a lot like Knowshon Moreno as a high school junior. I don't think I can give much higher praise than that.
The Con: Admittedly, Ealey's gaudy statistics were amassed against Class A competition. But I watched the Clinch County team ECI beat in the state semifinals and the Wilcox County team they beat in the state championship. I can assure you that both teams had athletes comparable to playoff teams in the higher classifications.
If anything is responsible for padding Ealey's numbers, it's the fact that the line he ran behind averaged 280 lb. + and ran over everything in sight. The main question marks in my mind regarding Ealey are his pass blocking and receiving skills. ECI's offense this year consisted of lots of inside runs with the occasional jump ball pass. So how well Ealey will pick up pass blocking in Mike Bobo's scheme is anyone's guess.
I'm also not sure exactly how fast Ealey is. I don't think he's a sub 4.4 guy, and I'm not even sure he runs the 4.45 that Rivals says he does. But really I don't care. ECI Head Coach Milan Turner said it best when he told the AJC that his star tailback is "as fast as the guy chasing him." That about sums it up.
The Upshot: Will Washaun Ealey be the next great tailback in the Classic City? I'm not sure. But he is a hard runner with all the physical tools to be a featured tailback. And if you get into recruiting rankings and stars and all that stuff, I can't imagine Ealey not being a 4 star prospect according to the recruiting services once they evaluate his junior film. 5 stars are not out of the question at all.