Georgia‚Äôs leading rusher the past two seasons was already likely facing a reduced role, but now he has to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff.
The school said Tuesday that tailback Washaun Ealey is suspended from team activities indefinitely.
“We have certain expectations and standards that apply to all our student-athletes,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “We expect them to do things the right way, the Georgia way. If Washaun does things the Georgia way, he’ll be back in good standing.”
Georgia did not say specifically what led to the suspension, but ESPN.com reported that the rising junior failed to report for a punishment run last week.
Ealey was suspended for the season opener last year after his arrest for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Richt said at the time that Georgia‚Äôs staff was aware Ealey’s license was suspended and he had been told not to drive.
“I’m not happy with it,” Richt said then. “It was foolish. He knew better.”
Attempts to reach Ealey today have been unsuccessful.
Ealey‚Äôs suspension came less than a week after highly-touted incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell from Carver High School in Columbus signed with the Bulldogs. Crowell is rated by some recruiting services as the No. 1 running back in the nation
Richt already said last week after Crowell signed with Georgia that plans were to use him ‚Äúheavily,‚Äù and that he ‚Äúwouldn‚Äôt be shocked to see him running that rock in the (Georgia) Dome against Boise State on the opening play.‚Äù
Ealey, a Stillmore, Ga., product rushed for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns last season in a year in which Georgia finished 10th in the SEC in rushing.
Georgia‚Äôs running game struggled last year during a season when its top tailbacks ran into off field trouble.
Besides Ealey‚Äôs suspension, Caleb King was suspended two games after being arrested for failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket. He was suspended also for the Liberty Bowl after violating Georgia policy by missing a fifth academic appointment.
Ealey rushed for 183 yards in an upset win over then No. 7 Georgia Tech in 2009 and set a program record with five touchdowns last season in a 44-31 win at Kentucky, but also had costly fumbles in losses to South Carolina and Mississippi State.
Georgia‚Äôs team activities this month include four days of weight lifting a week.
The Bulldogs only have two other scholarship tailbacks with experience besides Ealey: King (430 yards, two touchdowns in 2010) and Carlton Thomas (272 yards, two touchdowns).
Freshman Ken Malcome is coming off a redshirt season and is expected to push for playing time.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer