Justin Crawford is emerging as the most dependable running back in the Big 12 and one of West Virginia’s top offensive weapons.
Here are 5 things fans need to know about him.
1. Justin Crawford is one of the most consistent backs in the country
After 3 games this season, Crawford has rushed for 326 yards to lead the Mountaineers and the Big 12 and rank 22nd nationally heading into Saturday’s game at Kansas.
Crawford is averaging 7.6 yards per carry, which ranks fourth in the conference among backs with at least 15 carries.
And his steadiness has been his most admirable trait this season. Crawford has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season, rushing for 106 against Virginia Tech, 118 vs. East Carolina and 102 last week against Delaware State.
Only three backs nationally have produced 100-yard rushing games in each of their first three games this season. Crawford joins San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, Stanford’s Bryce Love and Oregon’s Royce Freeman on that list.
2. Justin Crawford is a devoted family man
Before leaving junior college in Mississippi, Crawford married his wife, Kenya. They have two children, Justin Jr., and Jaydense.
His siblings have helped build his work ethic.
“It’s the only way I’m going to be able to feed my kids in the future,” Crawford told the Fairmont (W.Va.) Times. “and have the things I didn’t have when I was a young teenager or a kid.”
Before his playing career started at West Virginia, Crawford supported his family by working at Taco Bell. He made about $10 per hour whipping up cheesy gorditas and burritos at a location near the WVU campus while working the night shift.
It prompted a talk with WVU coaches when they learned of his financial predicament.
“Dude, you can’t do this when the season starts,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen told ESPN.com he told Crawford.
3. Justin Crawford dealt with adversity from an early age
When Crawford was 14, his father, Homer Roberts, drowned off the coast of Tybee Island near Savannah, Ga., trying to save a 12-year-old in a strong current. His body was discovered the next morning.
“He took it really hard,” his mother Daphne Crawford told the Norfolk (Va.) Virginian-Pilot. “He took it really hard.”
4. Justin Crawford didn’t get much interest as a high school recruit
After rushing for 825 yards as a junior season at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Ga., Crawford had only two Power 5 conference offers – Boston College and Louisville. He eventually committed to the Cardinals.
But he was ineligible to play as a senior because he turned 19 by the start of the school year. He pulled his commitment to Louisville after Charlie Strong left to take the Texas coaching job. Crawford then graduated from high school early and ended up at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
The school is located in Senatobia, Miss. It isn’t “Last Chance U.” But it isn’t far from it.
5. Justin Crawford’s junior college production put him in the national spotlight
Two productive junior-college seasons placed Crawford on the national map. He rushed for 3,161 yards and 30 touchdowns in his two seasons there. A huge second season earned him NJCAA national offensive player of the year honors as he directed his team to a junior college national championship.
He chose West Virginia over Missouri as his two strongest offers.
“They have a great fan base and coaches,” Crawford told the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press. “They’re very friendly. You won’t find any better school. Period. Anywhere.”
The post Who is Justin Crawford? 5 things to know about the West Virginia running back appeared first on Diehards.
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