ATHENS -- Washaun Ealey’s mercurial career at Georgia has ended after two seasons.
The tailback from Stillmore is transferring, the team announced Monday evening. Ealey was granted an unconditional release.
“Washaun and I have had several conversations in recent weeks,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said in a statement Monday. “We both have come to the conclusion that a transfer to another institution would be in his best interest.”
Ealey did not answer a call to his cell phone. His immediate destination is not known.
The news was far from a shock after the past few months. Ealey was suspended from team activities for several weeks before spring practice, missed most of spring practice and the G-Day game with a hamstring injury, and Richt told a Bulldog club meeting in Augusta that Ealey “has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to even play right now.”
A few days later, before a meeting in Columbus, Richt continued to show displeasure.
“The bottom line is we don’t have a tailback right now that deserves to start, in my opinion,” Richt said. “We don’t have a guy that has proven he can do all the things that we’re going to ask that guy to do. Washaun is one of them.”
Ealey was a Parade All-American coming out of ECI and was considered an heir apparent to Knowshon Moreno. He showed flashes of that potential as a freshman, rushing for 717 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. He did that while splitting carries with Caleb King.
But everything began to derail on the morning of Aug. 27, eight days before the Bulldogs’ season opener. Ealey was arrested on three charges stemming from an incident when he hit a parked car. He was suspended for the first game.
When he returned from his suspension, Ealey’s public comments indicated he knew he was in the doghouse.
“Right now I don’t know what my standing is with the coaches, but hopefully I’ll get back on their good side,” Ealey said.
It appears he never did.
Ealey had a critical fumble at South Carolina, turning it over inside the 5-yard line. Then he did it again at Mississippi State, fumbling near the goal line. He was subsequently benched, then he got another chance when King was suspended two games for his own traffic-related arrest.
Ealey took advantage at Kentucky, setting a program record with five rushing touchdowns. He finished the year with 811 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. But the Bulldogs still finished 10th in the SEC in rushing.
“I definitely put it on myself,” Ealey said during practice for the Liberty Bowl. “Just being the type of guy that I am, I try to look to excel over what people think about me. Basically I feel like this season has had a lot to do with our running game. I feel like the three running backs that have been playing, we could’ve done a lot more to help the team.”