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Crawford staying patient after first offers

The scholarship offers have started coming in for Justin Crawford.

Crawford, Northwest Mississippi Community College’s standout running back, received his first two Football Bowl Subdivision offers Tuesday from Southern Miss and South Alabama. It didn’t surprise Crawford, who just last week became the school’s all-time leading rusher with 2,335 yards in his first 15 games with the Rangers.
“It’s something I knew was coming,” Crawford said. “I didn’t really have a reaction.”

Crawford has always had the talent — he was verbally committed to Louisville during his prep career at Hardaway High in Columbus, Georgia — but not the grades.

Crawford found his way to Senatobia after he didn’t qualify academically out of high school. Crawford has to graduate from NWCC with a 2.5 cumulative grade point average to be eligible to play at a four-year school, and a NWCC spokesperson said Crawford is on track to do that.

“I feel I’ve really matured,” Crawford said. “My grades have improved a lot.”

Other schools are in heavy pursuit of the state’s top junior college back, none moreso than Texas A&M. Crawford said he communicates with Aggie coaches every week and that A&M “will probably end up offering.”

He said he’s also heard from Utah, Louisville and others, and while Georgia isn’t one of the schools showing him much interest, Crawford said he’s been a Bulldog fan “since the third grade.” But the 6-foot, 200-pounder said he’s going to let his recruitment play out until the end of the season and beyond to see what other suitors jump in the mix.

“It’s all about patience,” Crawford said.

Crawford has led a resurgent NWCC squad this season with 784 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to go with 182 receiving yards and two scores through the air. The Rangers are 5-0 after winning just four games a season ago and ranked fifth nationally heading into Saturday’s homecoming matchup with Holmes CC at Bobby Franklin Field.