Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Isaiah Crowell: Which Past Recruit is Most Like Him?

Many Dawg Fans are putting a lot...I mean ALLOT of stock in Isaiah Crowell's prospective productivity this upcoming season. Should these fans be so optimistic? It's possible, and we have seen SEC freshman running backs make quite an impact in recent history -- Michael Dyer and Marcus Lattimore to name a couple. But in Dyer's case, he is only 5'8'' and Marcus Lattimore weighs about 230 pounds (despite what his Rivals profile says). Are these guys really like Crowell? I think not. So, I decided to do a little regression analysis to see what recent freshmen running backs are most like Crowell. This, perhaps, could give us at least a little foresight into his productivity this upcoming season and beyond.

I am using some pretty basic metrics here:
  1. Their recruiting ranking. Though I am actually using the "Rivals.com rating" (listed below as "RR"). Rivals provides a number -- in Crowell's case 6.1 -- which acts as a raw rating as opposed to an overall player ranking. This puts everybody on an even keel.
  2. Their player attributes -- height + weight. (I don't really trust the "40-time" because 97% of the running backs are listed as running a 4.4)
  3. Where they played college. Most of the RBs that compare to Crowell do go on to play for big-time schools so this shouldn't be an issue.
  4. I am staying pretty recent -- from 2007 and beyond. I am just trying to keep the integrity of this study as high as possible. 
Just for the record, Crowell is listed at 5-11 210.

Here is Crowell's best comp from 2007: 
  • Graig Cooper - Miami (5-11 185, RR: 6.1) -- Cooper had a decent career at the U (his last season was 2010) but he never "broke out" in my opinion. His best season was his sophomore year (2008) when he ran for 841 yards and had 29 receptions for 113 yards. As a freshman, he ran for 682 yards and four TDs. 
Here is 2008:
  • Darrell Scott - Colorado (6-0 204, RR: 6.1) -- This guy has been pretty much a flop thus far. He played his first two seasons at Colorado and transferred to South Florida, where he had to sit out last season. He only ran for 438 yards in two season at Colorado, and personally, I always thought it was shady that a five-star running back from California went to Colorado. 
  • Jermie Calhoun - Oklahoma (6-0 210, RR: 6.1) -- Calhoun has had trouble finding his way up the depth chart. He redshirted in 2008, but remained buried behind DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown at OU the past two seasons. He has only rushed for 242 yards combined in the two seasons he has played. 
How about 2009:
  • Trent Richardson - Alabama (5-11 210, RR: 6.1) -- Now we're talking. Most of us SEC fans know about this guy. His freshman season, he ran for 751 yards while backing up Mark Ingram (you know, the guy who won the Heisman). Last year, his sophomore season, he ran for 700 yards on 112 carries. The bad news: I don't think we can expect offensive line play like Alabama.
  • Bryce Brown - Tennessee (6-0 215, RR: 6.1) -- Played his freshman season at Tennessee (2009), and sat out last year after transferring to Kansas State. As a freshman, he ran for 460 yards on 101 carries. 
  • Christine Michael - Texas A&M (5-11 202, RR: 6.1) -- Had a very decent freshman season, as he ran for 844 yards and 10 TDs. Last season, he ran for only 631 yards but missed the last five games because of knee surgery. 
Here is 2010:
  • Dillon Baxter - USC (5-11 187, RR: 6.1) -- Tough to tell yet on this guy. He ran for 252 yards last year during his freshman season. Then again, USC is a little more blessed at running back right now so I wouldn't put too much stock in Baxter's freshman performance, good or bad.
I know this is not an exact science, but I figured this was a decent way to evaluate Crowell. Based on the few above examples, it is not a lock that Crowell will be a break-out star. Obviously, there are several players ranked a little behind the "blue chip" level that ended up being very productive as freshmen. And as I said above, this list is not exhaustive, as I ONLY used guys with similar heights and weights. The only thing I will say, is that barring injury, there is no WAY Crowell redshirts like some of the above guys. He will get the carries. Let's hope he is ready. And perhaps more importantly, let's hope he at least has a better attitude than some of our recent RBs. 


  1. I completely agree. Crowell's success as a freshman is tied to the quality of the five guys blocking for him. I would take numbers similar to Trent Richardson or Washaun Ealey as a freshman if Caleb King has his act together. I just don't see a Moreno type of breakout because of the o-line. If the line plays well and stays healthy, Crowell appears to have better raw ability coming out of HS than KM and could have a Michael Dyer type of year.

  2. IMO: This post was about as lame as they come.

    My 401k has been a bit sluggish lately. Got any advice other than buy low -- sell high?


  3. I am sorry but all the hype just has me thinking Jasper Sanks. I really really hope I'm wrong. I guess I'm getting hype proof in my old age.

  4. Anon 1:42,

    "This post was about as lame as they come."

    I'm shocked that a guy who writes negative comments on a free blog has a poor 401K.