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HBCU Game Time

Isaiah Crowell: NFL Draft Hopeful

I’m excited to write HBCU Game Time, powered by BOX TO ROW for JET!  As host of the national sports talk radio show, From the Press Box to Press Row, I cover all sports, with an emphasis on our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with pro sports and some entertainment sprinkled in from time to time.

One of the reasons I started BOXTOROW back in 2005 was for people to have an opportunity to hear from student-athletes that play at our HBCUs before they possibly go to the next level.  Over a nine-year span, we’ve talked with current NFL players such as Tarvaris Jackson, Antoine Bethea and Jacoby Jones while they were still college athletes.  I am pleased to bring this exclusive interview from BOXTOROW to JETmag.com with former Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell, who definitely has a story to tell.

As we approach the NFL draft, which begins Thursday and ends on Saturday, Crowell hopes to hear his name called.

As an HBCU player, the odds are stacked against Crowell being drafted.  Up until 2000 with a few exceptions, 10 or more HBCU players drafted in any given year was the norm.  In 2000, there were 13 players drafted from HBCUs.  The highest since 2003 has been eight.  In the last two drafts, a total of three HBCU players were taken.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Terron Armstead was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round last year.

Crowell hopes what he has done the last two years at Alabama will buck that trend.  And boy, does he have a story to tell.

While playing for the University of Georgia as a freshman, Crowell had it all.  He was the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year over South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, who is projected as the top pick in this year’s draft.  He was playing collegiate football at the highest level in the SEC.  He had a promising future.

But all of that came crashing down on June 29, 2012 when Crowell was arrested on weapons charges.

You will hear from Crowell in his own words what happened on that night that led to his arrest and led to his life changing forever.  You will hear him talk about why he ultimately decided to attend the University of Georgia as the top running back in all of high school football in the class of 2011 and why he decided to attend ASU after he and Georgia head coach Mark Richt mutually agreed it was in Crowell’s best interest to leave UGA. He also addressed whether he has been given a bum rap, even though the incident that led to his arrest happened two years ago and the charges were ultimately dismissed.

Crowell rushed for 1,995 yards and 28 touchdowns in two years at Alabama State, and was named to the BOXTOROW All-American team in 2013.

By all accounts he had no problems at Alabama State where he kept a very low profile.

He was one of three HBCU players (tight end A.C. Leonard and offensive lineman Kadeem Edwards both of Tennessee State) to attend the NFL Combine in February and had a good showing.

He is projected as a late round pick (5-7 round).

I found him contrite, truthful, and bright.  He answered all of the questions – some of which were tough – truthfully and didn’t give standard answers.

Note: Other HBCU players who have a strong possibility of getting drafted include Leonard, Edwards, and Qua Cox of Jackson State.

Check out my interview with Crowell below:

Listen to Box to Row on Fridays 1p ET/10a PT on SiriusXM Channel 141 and Saturdays 12p/9a PT on SiriusXM Channel 142. You can follow Donal Ware on Twitter @dware1 and @boxtorow. Please share your thoughts at digitalpitches@ebony.com.