Tailback Isaiah Crowell made a splash as a true freshman at Georgia in 2011, rushing for 850 yards and five TDs in helping the Bulldogs win the SEC East title. He was named the SEC's freshman of the year.
But off-field issues dogged Crowell at Georgia and eventually led to his dismissal in June 2012. He enrolled at FCS member Alabama State and rushed for 843 yards and 11 TDs for the Hornets last fall.
This season, Crowell ranks eighth in the nation in rushing in the FCS ranks at 127.2 yards per game. He has scored 10 rushing TDs after a 68-yard, one-TD performance in Saturday's 34-2 rout of Texas Southern. It snapped his string of 100-yard outings at four, but it was the fifth consecutive game he had at least one rushing touchdown. Crowell is averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
Crowell (5-feet-11, 190 pounds), a junior, is considered one of the best FCS draft-eligible players in the nation. There seems to be little doubt he will turn pro after this season. Alabama State is coached by Reggie Barlow, a former NFL wide receiver, and he said he thinks Crowell is an NFL talent.
"I played in the NFL for eight years. I played with some really good backs -- Fred Taylor and Charlie Garner and some really good guys. Mike Pittman," Barlow told The Associated Press in August. "[Crowell] puts me in the mind-set of a Fred Taylor. He has that type of speed and explosiveness. He catches the ball well in the passing game and he understands protection. And when you have those three components, that's exactly what the NFL is. You fit the pyramid. I think he's an NFL running back."
Crowell was considered the nation's best running back in the 2011 recruiting class and a top-10 player overall out of Columbus (Ga.) Carver.
Alabama State plays one FBS opponent this season, and it's Kentucky on Nov. 2. Kentucky is a team Crowell is familiar with from his days as a Bulldog. But Crowell was banged-up and had just two carries for 11 yards against the Wildcats in 2011.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.