ATHENS, Ga. (WRCB) -- Once considered a strength for the University of Georgia football team, the running back position is quickly becoming a concern.
Head coach Mark Richt announced Friday afternoon that first-string senior tailback Caleb King has been declared academically ineligible for the fall semester, meaning he will not be a part of the football team during the 2011 regular season.
The move comes two months after the transfer of Washaun Ealey, who has since enrolled at Jacksonville State of the Football Championship Subdivision.
With Ealey and King no longer in the mix, the expectations continue to grow larger around highly-touted freshman recruit Isaiah Crowell.
"It's unfortunate Caleb will not be with us this season," Richt said in a university release. "We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do; however, we have to move forward and this will provide more opportunities for others to step up."
The release said King is considering his options before making a decision on his future plans.
On the field, the Norcross native rushed for 1,271 yards and ten touchdowns on 255 carries in 29 career games, including ten starts. Last season he ran for 430 yards and two scores on 80 carries while splitting time with Ealey.
Combined with Ealey's departure, the Bulldogs' lose their top two rushers who accounted for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010.
Academics have long been a concern with King, who also missed Georgia's Liberty Bowl game against Central Florida last December. He also had several brushes with the law in his UGA career, including a two-game suspension last year when he was arrested in October for failure to appear in court on a speeding ticket.
Georgia opens the season at the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta against Boise State, and it's now very likely Crowell will get his first college start in his first college game. Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome, junior Carlton Thomas and sophomore walk-on Brandon Harton were the only other running backs listed on the depth chart following spring camp.
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