ATHENS - Isaiah Crowell's stint at Georgia lasted less than a year, and he's already enrolled at another school. But the mercurial tailback remains on the minds of many on campus.
The football part - how he is replaced at tailback - is a big part of that. But his former teammates are also still dealing with his departure as a teammate and a friend.
You may recall that junior tight end Arthur Lynch was most vociferous in his defense of Crowell. Back in March, it was Lynch who said that Crowell received too much criticism from fans, and was turning a corner in his maturity. This sentiment was backed up by other teammates, but Lynch went further, saying Crowelll was "finally getting it."
Months later, Crowell was gone, dismissed from the team within hours of his arrest on three gun charges, including two felonies.
But Lynch said he still calls Crowell a friend.
"I'll never speak bad about the kid," Lynch said before Georgia opened practice on Thursday. "People make decisions every day that can affect the rest of their lives. I've made decisions that are positive and negative in my life. Everyone has. And I think for him, he was put in a situation where he made a choice, and that choice cost him his ability to play football for us. But I don't think you can judge him and judge his character that much by one of those events.
"I mean, he's a 19 year old, and I'll never sit here and publicly humiliate him. There's been countless things in my life and other people's lives no one is proud of."
Crowell is now enrolled at Alabama State, where he transferred less than a week after his dismissal from Georgia. How he performs there will dictate whether he can salvage his career, or end up another much-talented washout.
"The things I said in the spring and the summer I hold true to, because up to that point he had done everything that I said," Lynch said. "He was a guy that was coming to workouts. He was getting better. He was showing maturity. He made a mistake, and that mistake already cost him his spot here at Georgia, and I don't think it should cost him his reputation as a good person, because that's the outlook I have for the kids.
"There's a lot of people off the football team that I'm friends with, and they say some things about him that I don't think are worth saying and obviously, I feel for him, because that's kind of the public persona he's had. But in no way shape or form has my opinion changed of him nor will it, because I think deep down he's a good kid, and I think he has a lot of potential."