On Tuesday night I talked to 6-2, 290 pound defensive tackle prospect Aaron Crawford (Stone Bridge) about his recruitment. In addition to Virginia Tech, Virginia, Old Dominion, Maryland, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Duke have offered Aaron a scholarship. He's leaning towards pursuing something along the lines of a business or economics degree in college.
Aaron last visited Blacksburg on February 8th for a Virginia Tech junior day. He said of the trip, "It was great." He was able to spend time with Bud Foster and Charley Wiles. Aaron said of Coach Wiles, "He's a great guy, feel like he really knows what he's talking about." Aaron plans on returning to Tech again during the spring, and he'd like to commit right before his senior season at Stone Bridge begins.
It became clear to me after just a 15 minute conversation that Aaron is a well-spoken, focused young man.
Thekeyplay.com: What's your favorite lift, and what's your max at that lift?
Aaron Crawford: My favorite lift is definitely benching, and my max right now is 370.
Growing up one of my trainers I'm still with now told me if I was going to get better then I'd have to improve my upper body. That's something that I worked at every single day. When I finally started rising up the charts, comparing myself to everyone else, seeing that I was becoming just as, if not stronger than them, made me feel better about what I did. So it just kind of became one of my favorite lifts to do.
You mentioned you had a trainer, is playing division one football a goal you've had for a long time now?
Oh most definitely. I've been working for this ever since flag—so about 5 or 6.
What positions do you play at Stone Bridge?
Primarily last year they used me at nose tackle. Next year I'm going to be playing both ways a little more, most likely at either guard or tackle.
What position do you want to play in college?
I'd like to play defense in college, specifically nose or three-technique—no preference.
Of the schools that have offered you, do you have any favorites yet?
Right now I'm taking it all in, trying to go out and see as many schools as I can. I don't want to start leaning towards one school until I've been able to see them all.
Heading into your senior season, what's your biggest strength on the field?
I feel like my biggest strength is the power that I bring to the middle. I'm able to occupy maybe one or two guys while freeing up one of my fellow d-linemen. I feel like I'm able to push the pocket while having a solid motor throughout the game.
What do you need to improve on the most for this year?
The biggest thing I've felt like I'd like to improve on since freshman year was my stamina. I've been able to do that since then. I also want to work on being lower to the ground.
Say you're in that one-technique, and the guard and center come right off the ball driving into your shoulder, how do you split that double team?
My dad coached me during youth league, very young, and he said when going against double teams always attack one shoulder first, whether it be the inside or outside guy. There's no point in taking two people head on, it's a fight you're going to lose no matter how strong you are. For the most part I try to attack the weaker man's shoulder, then get skinny and squeeze through.
When you're getting ready to commit to a school, what are the main factors that'll weigh into that decision?
I'd like for my family to come see me play every once-in-a-while because they've always been there. The education also plays a factor, as well as whether they prefer to redshirt me or not. I'd like to get in and play as soon as possible. If I must go in and redshirt, so be it.
How does it feel that you're so close to reaching a goal you've been working for since you've been 5-years-old?
It's a very great feeling. I finally feel like my hard work is paying off, but I also feel like I have to work even harder now because I have so much more to prove—that I was worthy of these gifts that I've been given.