Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/2/12
Georgia coach Mark Richt and his staff made the decision to officially cut ties with beleaguered running back Isaiah Crowell on June 29, marking the end to the talented runners brief saga in Athens. Crowells arrest earlier that morning on three weapons charges possessing a concealed weapon, altering the identification tag of said weapon and having a weapon in a school zone left the Bulldogs staff with little choice. Although the rising sophomore had no criminal record prior to the incident, his time in the silver britches was nonetheless unstable. Two suspensions and nagging injuries plagued his freshman season, one in which his talent inevitably shone through while earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors after rushing for 850 yards and 5 touchdowns in, essentially, just 10 games. That big-time potential landed Crowell at No. 5 on our original countdown to the SECs top running back for the upcoming season, but his dismissal altered our rankings of the conferences top runners. South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore still leads a deep class followed by Arkansas standout Knile Davis, Alabamas Eddie Lacy and an LSU four-headed backfield monster. Zac Stacy, the powerful Vanderbilt runner back who is the conferences leading returning rusher, moves up into Crowells former spot, making room for Texas A&Ms Christine Michael and Auburns Onterio McCaleb. Entering into the list is Keith Marshall, a dynamic freshman who, if he can handle the load and pass blocking duties, could be a definitive homerun threat in Georgias backfield. Marshall was tabbed the No. 1 running back in the country in the 2012 class and will likely be the first option to pick up the 150 or so touches available in Crowells stead. The 5-11, 190-pound freshman has yet to touch the ball in college, so there is some risk that he might not immediately live up to the hype or even start in the Bulldogs deep backfield, but he is considered the future in Athens. At No. 10 on the list, that future does not have to be now. But there should be signs that it is coming.
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