Isaiah Crowell hot topic at SWAC media day

By John Zenor/The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell will clearly have to earn the respect of his new Southwestern Athletic Conference rivals.

The former Georgia starter and five-star recruit is already a hit with his new teammates but he was not a preseason pick for either first- or second-team All-SWAC at media day Monday for the East Division favorites.

Crowell is still the league’s most high-profile player without even stepping onto a SWAC field.

He enrolled at Alabama State on July 5, a few days after Georgia coach Mark Richt dismissed the sophomore following his arrest on felony weapons charges. Crowell faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property.

Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow described Crowell as “a quiet, humble guy” but said there haven’t been any promises extracted that he won’t misbehave again.

“He’s a young man that was 18 and he was thrust into the limelight,” Barlow, a former NFL receiver, said. “Sometimes that stuff can overtake you. There haven’t been any promises, just basically talks about we’re going to hold him accountable. That’s what they want from us, his mom and his dad. We’re going to do that. His teammates have embraced him, and we look forward to him just being a team member.”

There’s little doubt that Crowell can make a big splash in the SWAC since he already has in the SEC. However, coaches, sports information directors and some media members who cover the league didn’t show much love in preseason ballots that weren’t due until after Crowell’s arrival.

Crowell, rated by some services as the nation’s top running back recruit two years ago, ran for 850 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman for Georgia and earned Associated Press freshman of the year honors.

Several team leaders — Hornets quarterback Greg Jenkins, safety Kejuan Riley and wide receiver Landon Jones — sent Barlow text messages urging him to pursue Crowell, even before he was officially available, the coach said. Barlow said “amazingly” Crowell was already interested when he first contacted him.

“Any time you can get one of the best players in the country and add him into the mix, that brings another dimension,” Jenkins said. “It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.

“We accept him. He’s a part of the family now and we’re ready to get moving. ”

Asked if Crowell faces a zero tolerance policy for off-the-field missteps, Barlow said: “Whenever you come into a new program and a second-chance type deal, there’s no wavering room. He understands that, and I think he’s embraced it and now he’s looking forward to kind of rebuilding his credibility.”

Barlow described him as “a good humble guy, excited about a second chance and a new opportunity” since he’s been in Montgomery.

“We really like him,” said Riley, a safety. “He works hard. He comes out every day working hard. He’s a big addition to the program.”

Crowell still faces legal issues stemming from his arrest after police found a gun in his vehicle on the Georgia campus.

“As far as we are concerned as long as he’s out, we’re going to continue to embrace him and let him be a part of our team,” Barlow said. “The legal system is what it is. Until that takes place, he’ll be here at Alabama State. He’ll be a part of our team.”

Athletic director Stacy Danley said ASU spoke to Georgia officials and people who knew Crowell and his family before agreeing to accept him in the program.

“The football will take care of itself,” said Danley, a former Auburn running back. “But it was important that we understand who this young man was and that we had the appropriate structure in place.

“I was impressed with the structure that he had at home. He had both parents, parents who taught him the right things. You’re dealing with young people. Young people make bad choices sometimes. The fact that the parents and our coaching staff and myself were on the same page in what was necessary and what was important at this stage definitely played into our decision to bring him into our program.”

Defending SWAC champion Grambling State is picked to repeat in the West Division and meet up with Crowell & Co. in the championship game. Defensive back Edward Patterson likes the attention that has come the league’s way since Crowell’s transfer.

“It’s a nice step for the league, having a nice talented running back coming into the league and (drawing) a lot of media comments,” Patterson said. “The game’s still got to be played, but it’s nice to have a big-time name coming into the SWAC.”
JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell will clearly have to earn the respect of his new Southwestern Athletic Conference rivals.

The former Georgia starter and five-star recruit is already a hit with his new teammates but he was not a preseason pick for either first- or second-team All-SWAC at media day Monday for the East Division favorites.

Crowell is still the league’s most high-profile player without even stepping onto a SWAC field.

He enrolled at Alabama State on July 5, a few days after Georgia coach Mark Richt dismissed the sophomore following his arrest on felony weapons charges. Crowell faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property.

Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow described Crowell as “a quiet, humble guy” but said there haven’t been any promises extracted that he won’t misbehave again.

“He’s a young man that was 18 and he was thrust into the limelight,” Barlow, a former NFL receiver, said. “Sometimes that stuff can overtake you. There haven’t been any promises, just basically talks about we’re going to hold him accountable. That’s what they want from us, his mom and his dad. We’re going to do that. His teammates have embraced him, and we look forward to him just being a team member.”

There’s little doubt that Crowell can make a big splash in the SWAC since he already has in the SEC. However, coaches, sports information directors and some media members who cover the league didn’t show much love in preseason ballots that weren’t due until after Crowell’s arrival.

Crowell, rated by some services as the nation’s top running back recruit two years ago, ran for 850 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman for Georgia and earned Associated Press freshman of the year honors.

Several team leaders — Hornets quarterback Greg Jenkins, safety Kejuan Riley and wide receiver Landon Jones — sent Barlow text messages urging him to pursue Crowell, even before he was officially available, the coach said. Barlow said “amazingly” Crowell was already interested when he first contacted him.

“Any time you can get one of the best players in the country and add him into the mix, that brings another dimension,” Jenkins said. “It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.

“We accept him. He’s a part of the family now and we’re ready to get moving. ”

Asked if Crowell faces a zero tolerance policy for off-the-field missteps, Barlow said: “Whenever you come into a new program and a second-chance type deal, there’s no wavering room. He understands that, and I think he’s embraced it and now he’s looking forward to kind of rebuilding his credibility.”

Barlow described him as “a good humble guy, excited about a second chance and a new opportunity” since he’s been in Montgomery.

“We really like him,” said Riley, a safety. “He works hard. He comes out every day working hard. He’s a big addition to the program.”

Crowell still faces legal issues stemming from his arrest after police found a gun in his vehicle on the Georgia campus.

“As far as we are concerned as long as he’s out, we’re going to continue to embrace him and let him be a part of our team,” Barlow said. “The legal system is what it is. Until that takes place, he’ll be here at Alabama State. He’ll be a part of our team.”

Athletic director Stacy Danley said ASU spoke to Georgia officials and people who knew Crowell and his family before agreeing to accept him in the program.

“The football will take care of itself,” said Danley, a former Auburn running back. “But it was important that we understand who this young man was and that we had the appropriate structure in place.

“I was impressed with the structure that he had at home. He had both parents, parents who taught him the right things. You’re dealing with young people. Young people make bad choices sometimes. The fact that the parents and our coaching staff and myself were on the same page in what was necessary and what was important at this stage definitely played into our decision to bring him into our program.”

Defending SWAC champion Grambling State is picked to repeat in the West Division and meet up with Crowell & Co. in the championship game. Defensive back Edward Patterson likes the attention that has come the league’s way since Crowell’s transfer.

“It’s a nice step for the league, having a nice talented running back coming into the league and (drawing) a lot of media comments,” Patterson said. “The game’s still got to be played, but it’s nice to have a big-time name coming into the SWAC.”

A list of the preseason All-SWAC teams, poll
The Associated Press

A list of the preseason All-SWAC teams selected by league coaches and media:

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

RB_Dawrence Roberts, Grambling State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

DL_Joseph LeBeau, Jackson State

FIRST TEAM

Offense

QB_Deaunte Mason, Alabama A&M

RB_Kaderious Lacey, Alabama A&M

RB_Dawrence Roberts, Grambling State

WR_Rico Richardson, Jackson State

WR_Spencer Nelson, Prairie View

TE_E.J. Drewery, Jackson State

OL_Jamal Johnson-Webb, Alabama A&M

OL_Terren Jones, Alabama State

OL_Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

OL_Sanford Banks, Grambling State

OL_Zion Pyatt, Jackson State

Defense

DL_Joseph LeBeau, Jackson State

DL_Carlton Jones, Alabama State

DL_Ryan Love, Prairie View

DL_Devon Carter, Grambling State

LB_Todd Wilcher, Jackson State

LB_Raheem Cardwell, Prairie View

LB_Jacarde Carter, Grambling State

DB_Kejuan Riley, Alcorn State

DB_Qua Cox, Jackson State

DB_Saeed Lee, Alabama State

DB_Vernon Marshall, Alabama A&M

Specialists

PK_Chance Wilson, Alabama A&M

P_Bobby Wenzig, Alabama State

RET_Terrance Lewis, Alcorn State

SECOND TEAM

Offense

QB_Greg Jenkins, Alabama State

RB_Arnold Walker, Alcorn State

RB_Trey Bateaste, Mississippi Valley State

WR_G’Alonzo Milton, Alabama A&M

WR_T.C. McWilliams, Alabama State

TE_Mike Berry, Southern

OL_Clint Marsh, Grambling

OL_Stephen Capler, Jackson State

OL_Tre Glover, Prairie View

OL_Chris Browne, Southern

OL_Justin Goodrich, Alabama A&M

Defense

DL_Leployer Franklin, Mississippi Valley St.

DL_Johnathan Billups, Jackson State

DL_Jarvis Wilson, Prairie View A&M

DL_Tim Tillman, Alabama A&M

LB_Bill Ross, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

LB_Brandon Slater, Alabama State

LB_Jer-ryan Harris, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

DB_Naquan Smith, Grambling State

DB_Virgil Williams, Southern

DB_Casey Freeman, Alcorn State

DB_Tyree Hollins, Grambling State

Specialists

PK_Carlos Sanchez, Mississippi Valley State

P_Fabian Carter, Grambling State

RET_B.J. Lee, Jackson State

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (1ST-PLACE VOTES)

Western Division

1. Grambling State (20) 119 points

2. Prairie View A&M (1) 82 points

3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2) 69 points

4. Southern (2) 54 points

5. Texas Southern 51 points

Eastern Division

1. Alabama State (11) 108 points

2. Jackson State (7) 95 points

3. Alabama A&M (7) 94 points

4. Alcorn State (1) 42 points

5. Mississippi Valley 36 points