It is all about practice for inside linebacker Tae Crowder. The now redshirt junior was originally recruited to be a running back for Georgia but found himself playing on the other side of the ball.
Head coach Kirby Smart was familiar with Crowder before either of them came to Georgia. “I had him in camp at Alabama for three or four years and I always thought he was a defensive player, said Smart. “He was just big, athletic and fast. He was one of these receivers that grew into something else.” This and also the fact that Georgia had a plethora of talented running backs at their disposal, including Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien, played a big part in the decision to change Crowder’s position.
Crowder seems to be progressing and honing his skills as a linebacker with every season. In 2017, he appeared in all 15 games and had seven total stops. So far, this season, in one-third of the games he has already had ten total stops, including an assisted tackle for a loss against Austin Peay. He accredits this advancement to trusting the process and working hard at practice. Both Smart and Crowder’s high school football coach Dwight Jones have commented on the athletes work ethic and his dedication to the game.
The transition from running back to linebacker is a difficult one. Crowder had to learn how to be more physical and change his mindset. “He (Crowder) has come a long way, so where he was last year to where he is now, he’s had immense strides. But he had a lot of strides to make. So, he started out as a really good athlete, good receiver who has good ball skills. He had to get used to the contact at linebacker,” said Smart.