The first look that Lewisville (Texas) Hebron defender Paul Crawford got at the University of Arkansas left him in awe.
That was on the unofficial visit Crawford (6-8, 235, 4.69) – an outside linebacker who will line up at defensive end in college - took on Nov. 14 to see the Razorbacks rout Troy 56-20 before 66,442 fans.
"That crowd was amazing," Crawford said. "It was what big-time college football atmosphere is all about – great team, great coaches and the fans all acting as one to support their team," Crawford said. "I was just blown away."
He'll get another look at the campus beginning Friday as one of the 15 or so prospects expected to be on hand for official visits during the UA's biggest recruiting weekend of the 2010 campaign.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back up there and seeing all the players and coaches again and really get a chance to look over the school," Crawford said. "I really think it is a great place."
The Arkansas visit is the only one that Crawford has scheduled, but he has plans to take another one the following week.
He says Mississippi State, Baylor, UTEP and San Diego State are all trying to land the other visit.
"I know the coaches said that most schools have things wrapped up by this next weekend and certainly that could happen for me with Arkansas," Crawford said. "But I do think going into my visit that even if I committed it would be good to just compare it with someplace else. We'll see."
Crawford, a Los Angeles native and all-district performer at outside linebacker this season, had 17 tackles in his first game of the season.
"I was pretty sure I was going to have a pretty good year after that," Crawford said. "Our team certainly didn't have the best record (4-6) and that was the important thing. But I felt like we stayed in there and played hard and I just developed as the season went along."
Crawford, also a standout basketball player, spent most of his time line up as a really huge linebacker.
"I enjoyed playing there, but there were also some packages where I lined up at defensive end," Crawford said. "I know Arkansas is planning on me lining up as a rush defensive end and using my speed to get the to quarterback."
He has plans to put more weight on his frame by the time he arrives on a college campus for practice.
"I think I can easily get up to 250 by the time practice starts," Crawford said. "I think I can carry that and more and still keep my speed. My quickness and footwork are very good. I will need to get used to playing with my hand down at times now, but I think I will take to that."
Crawford's dad got a job offer in Texas a few years ago and the youngster had a decision to make – stay in California and play at Crenshaw High or head to Texas.
"I could have stayed in LA with my mom, but I love football and I got to thinking that being in the South playing football would be the best thing for me," Crawford said. "It was a good decision for me. It's great football down here and has put me in this position to go on and play in college."
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