- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

COLUMBUS, GA. (AP) - Isaiah Crowell carries the same primary goal as most high school football players into his senior season, just with a heightened sense of responsibility.

Sure, the Carver High School running back wants to lead his team to a state title.

“And my next goal is to just stay out of trouble this whole season,” Crowell said. “That’s it. I’d really hurt myself because I know what opportunities I have.”

Crowell figures to have plenty of opportunities. The 6-foot, 210-pounder is among the top running back prospects in the country, on The Associated Press South Region 25 list of top recruits.

After running for 1,907 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior, he has packed on at least 10 pounds without shedding his speed.

Carver coach Dell McGee said his star back clocked a 4.32-second 40 time at a Southern Mississippi camp in July. McGee said he’s also stepped up his intensity in practice and reported in the kind of condition required of a workhorse runner.

“He has all the tangibles a top running back needs to have,” said McGee, a former Auburn defensive back. “He has great size, breakaway speed, catches the ball well out of the backfield. He has great vision, makes great moves and cuts. He blocks well.”

He’s not a complete player quite yet. Like most prep backs, in college he’ll have more responsibility as a blocker picking up blitzes.

“But just get him the ball and tell him where the hole’s at, and he can take care of the rest,” McGee said. “He’s a natural at that.”

Handling the attention from reporters and college coaches comes less easily to the soft-spoken Crowell.

“I like it but sometimes it gets overwhelming,” he said. “But it’s all right. It’s better than not having any (interested) schools.”

Crowell said he has narrowed his college choices down to Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and Miami.

Like many other top prospects, he wants a place where he can get on the field quickly.

“I want to play early but I’m really looking to have a good relationship with my teammates and my coaches,” Crowell said. “That’s the main thing.”

McGee, who played at Auburn with eventual NFL running back Stephen Davis, has high expectations for Crowell.

“He has a chance to be very special in college in the right system and God keeping him healthy, I think he can be a Heisman candidate on whatever team he ends up on,” the coach said.

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