Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks. We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.
Unless Coach Richt has developed Will Muschamp’s penchant for the disingenuous euphemism, it appears that Washaun Ealey has grown tired of spending more time in the doghouse in Athens than Uga.
Of course, Ealey’s presence on his head coach’s bad side has been entirely of his own making; after all, it wasn’t Coach Richt who kept fumbling, or mishandled the parking-deck hit-and-run a half-dozen different ways, or got himself indefinitely suspended. That was all Washaun, and, if Ealey hasn’t learned the lesson that actions beget consequences, Coach Richt is right that it is for the best for his troubled running back to make tracks for someplace else.
That is not to say that I wish the young man ill, or that I am prepared to dismiss the announcement of Ealey’s release with a flippant "good riddance to bad rubbish." Washaun had his struggles, but he hardly qualified as rubbish, even if his judgment needed improvement, both on and off the field. Last season, Ealey started only seven games, but he carried the ball 157 times for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching eight passes for 85 yards.
Those are not statistics at which to sneeze, although it must be acknowledged, as well, that Ealey’s yards per carry and rushing yards per game declined from 5.7 and 79.9, respectively, in 2009 to 5.2 and 67.6 in 2010. As a prep player in Emanuel County, he was the Class A offensive player of the year, the all-class player of the year, and a member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Super 11." As a first-year collegian, Ealey twice earned SEC freshman of the week honors, led the team with 717 rushing yards, and earned one of the team’s offensive newcomer of the year awards.
Nevertheless, his career with the Georgia Bulldogs was an erratic one; following spring drills in 2010, Ealey won the coveted Coffee County Hustle Award, and he entered the ensuing autumn as a first-teamer on Athlon Sports’ preseason All-SEC squad. He showed flashes of brilliance, tying Robert Edwards’s school record with five touchdowns in a single game against the Kentucky Wildcats, but he also disappeared in big games, being held to a single score in critical outings against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, and Florida Gators. (He would have been held to a single TD against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, too, but he scored when he should have knelt.)
In short, I am neither glad to see Washaun Ealey go nor sad to see Washaun Ealey go. With the obvious caveats of the sort offered by Vito Corleone to Virgil Sollozzo, I hope he does well wherever he goes, but I also hope his departure serves as additional evidence that our head coach is serious about putting a halt to the nonsense. While offseason gestures are meaningless if they do not produce wins in the autumn, offseason gestures presently are all we have, and I have few quibbles with events relating to Georgia football since the new year dawned, including this one.
Meanwhile, Isaiah Crowell’s path to the starting job just got slightly easier, albeit only slightly so. Here’s hoping Crowell and his fellow Bulldogs learn the lesson Washaun Ealey apparently never could: it’s the same distance from the mansion to the outhouse as it was from the outhouse to the mansion . . . and vice versa.