RB flips from Georgia Southern to UGA after unexpected call

Tae Crowder is a diehard UGA fan, but he has never stepped on the SEC school’s campus.

The running back from Harris County High School admits he was totally caught off guard when Mark Richt and his staff wanted to talk over the phone around 8 p.m. Monday.

By the end of the conversation, Crowder had switched his commitment from Georgia Southern to UGA — sight unseen.

UGA's Mark Richt (AJC)

UGA’s Mark Richt (AJC)

“I couldn’t believe it,” Crowder told the AJC. “I swear I did not know this was coming. It was truly unexpected. But it didn’t take me long at all to think about it.”

UGA had lost another running back earlier on Monday, and the Bulldogs really wanted to fill that spot. So they turned to Crowder, a 2-star recruit who had committed to Georgia Southern in December.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder also claimed offers from Marshall and Kentucky. He never visited those schools, but it was his brush with Marshall that opened the doors for Crowder at UGA. The new Director of Player Personnel for the Bulldogs, Todd Hartley, was recently hired from Marshall.

“I always knew Coach Hartley,” Crowder said. “He recruited me at Marshall, but he went back to Georgia. He told the staff about me. He showed them my film, and they really liked it. I talked to the whole staff in that call, and they wanted me to come to Georgia.”

Even though Crowder has never seen UGA’s campus, he said it was a no-brainer to commit. He’ll finally get to see Athens after signing day on an official visit.

The next phone call, to Georgia Southern running backs coach Dell McGee, wasn’t as jovial.

“He kind of gave me a little talk,” Crowder said. “He understands, but he still gave me a talk about it. He told me to ‘Be smart and make smart decisions.’”

Crowder, who is rated as the state’s No. 214 overall prospect, is commitment No. 25 for UGA, which could sign as many as 31 on Wednesday.

Here’s a scouting report on Crowder: “He’s a poor man’s Todd Gurley. He excels between the tackles, but can be an H-Back also. Really, he’s an all-around athlete. UGA can split him out wide, too. He’s a hidden gem. He’s another guy that big schools didn’t do their homework on. They look at the 247sports.com lists when they start to scramble.”

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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