Player Spotlight - Tae Crowder, a Story of Perseverance

Brooks Austin

Tae Crowder came to Georgia as a running back that wasn't exactly highly touted. In fact, Georgia and Kentucky were his lone SEC offers coming out high school.

At 6'3, 220 pounds, his high school highlights are seemingly aligned with that of Derrick Henry. The film is filled with violent stiff-arms, crushing lead blocks, and the same type of physicality you see him play with today.

At the end of his redshirt sophomore year in 2016, Crowder spoke with Coach Kirby Smart about changing positions to linebacker, which under Smart has been a position that's just as star-studded as the running backs groups. 

After going from sitting behind Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, he then found himself fighting for playing time against Roquan Smith, Natrez Patrick, and Monty Rice. One could understand why at one point Crowder questioned if he'd ever get the chance to start at Georgia. 

After spending his first three years at Georgia working hard and waiting his turn, Tae Crowder has emerged as one of the nation's top linebackers, having been announced as a Semifinalist for the Butkus Award last week. 

As always, a great job from the UGA Media department there. 

What stands out most to me in that video is when asked what his favorite play as a Georgia Bulldog is, he mentions the squib kick that he caught in the Rose Bowl game at the end of the first half that allowed Rodrigo Blankenship to hit a 55-yard field goal as time expired.

A special teams play. Not the touchdown against Tennessee from this year, not one of his two career interceptions, or countless critical tackles. It's a special teams play that gave a teammate an opportunity. 

The story of Tae Crowder's career as a Georgia Bulldog will be riddled with perseverance and mettle, with the final chapter having yet to be completed.

Currently, he and fellow inside linebacker Monty Rice lead one of the nation's top defenses. Georgia currently ranks 1st in Redzone defense, 2nd in scoring defense, and 4th against the rush. 

Crowder and the Georgia defense are up for what could be the biggest test of the season, particularly at the linebacker position. Auburn is a run-first football team that forces linebackers to decipher through a litany of pulling guards, motions, and lead blockers. 

Crowder and Monty Rice will certainly be up for the task Saturday.