Walk-on's Second Try Results In Starting Role

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles previewing lesser known players who have a chance to play a key role for the 2005 Auburn football team.

Auburn, Ala.--"Father Knows Best" was the name of a classic sitcom from the days of black and white television. For Auburn University football player Chas Crofoot, father did know best when figuring out the route for his son to make a college football roster.

Crofoot, who just earned a degree in business, is planning to come back for one more semester of classes and football before he puts away his pads for the last time. Although away from the football field he would seldom be mistaken for a player who was a starter for the 13-0 2004 SEC champions, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is counting on the 6-1, 190-pounder from Orlando to be a key member of the 2005 team.

Although he was the starting quarterback, who was a standout in three sports in high school, if it wasn't for a special skill taught to the Auburn senior when he was a youngster Crofoot's athletic talents would have probably been reserved for the intramural fields or perhaps a small college if he had wanted to go that route.

"I've been playing ball since I was seven years old and my dad coached me all the way through, even in high school," notes Crofoot, who is the oldest of five boys in his family.

"Someone told my dad years back that there's always a spot on the bus for a snapper," Crofoot says. "He kind of smiled and we all started snapping. We have all thrown the ball our whole lives. With snapping, we are just bending over and throwing the ball. It has worked out for us."

At The First Academy in Orlando, Crofoot passed for 16 touchdowns as a senior. Eleven of them were to his younger brother Ike, who has continued to play the game in college. Ike will be at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 1st as a member of Coach Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks.

"Ike started as a true freshmen and as a sophomore for South Carolina," Chas notes. "He will be playing as a junior this year. He snaps for punts and field goals. He also holds for field goals so we can get in a lot of practice when we are both at home."

Another one of Crofoot's brothers, Clayton, is planning to follow Chas to Auburn this fall after deep snapping in high school. Chas says that Clayton might give college football a try, too, but that is not definite.

At Auburn, Crofoot's assignment is to snap on field goals while Pete Compton deep snaps for punts, although Crofoot can handle that assignment if needed. He was a three-year starter at quarterback in high school and was the first team deep snapper for two seasons. His dad was a volunteer assistant coach for his high school team who helped with special teams.

Crofoot also played basketball and was named conference defensive player of the year in that sport. He was a three-year starter in baseball, who played at first base and in the outfield. He was a two-year starter in basketball.

Crofoot says he grew up a University of Florida football fan, but decided to apply to Auburn because a friend from high school was going to AU. "I walked on my freshman year, but didn't make it," he says. However, he liked Auburn and the disappointment of getting cut didn't sour him on the AU experience.

"The coaches had no idea who I was when I got to Auburn," Crofoot notes.

Being told as a freshman he wasn't needed on the team would have been the end of his football playing days if he hadn't been told that the Tigers were auditioning players at his position.

"Before my junior year, I heard that there was a need for a snapper so I called up the coach and tried out," Crofoot remembers. "I ended up making the team and redshirted for a year. Last year I got my chance to deep snap in week three vs. LSU." Compton was having trouble with the field goal and extra point snaps so Crofoot got a chance to show what he could do in games the next week while Compton concentrated on punt snaps.

Crofoot started vs. The Citadel and played in 10 games, finishing the season at the top of the depth chart where he is expected to stay for another season that will have a memorable Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the AU senior and his family.

"Last season was, obviously, a highlight for me being on a team that was unbeaten," he says. "It's not something that many people experience. The highlight for me this year will be on Oct. 1st when I get to play against my brother.

"Seeing him in warmups, patting him on the head, that's going to be pretty special," Crofoot adds. "I'll have family in the crowd, and I'm sure we'll get pictures after the game. With my little brother at school with me this year, it's going to be an exciting fall."

This summer, he and Compton are working out regularly getting ready for preseason practices that will begin in August as the Tigers prepare for the Sept. 3rd opener vs. Georgia Tech. "We are snapping three or four days a week right now," Crofoot notes. "The muscle memory, the repetition, are important."

Senior Chas Crofoot is expected to start for a second straight season.

Crofoot laughs about it now, but he almost didn't get a chance for a repeat performance following his debut as an Auburn snapper at the annual A-Day scrimmage.

"My first ever time on the field at that spring game two years ago I was so excited," Crofoot remembers. "My family was there to watch and I thought everything was going great. I went out there and and on the first punt I snapped it over Kody's (Kody Bliss) head for a safety. The guy next to me looks at me and goes, ‘What did you just do?' And I said, ‘I don't want to talk about it.'" However, head coach Tommy Tuberville sure did and he caught the snapper before Crofoot could get off the field.

"Coach Tubs met me about at the numbers," Crofoot remembers. "He said, ‘What happened?' I told him, ‘Coach, it will never happen again, I promise you that.'

"I went up to his office the next day, just to reassure him that it wouldn't happen again, and just sat there and talked to him and said, ‘Coach, that's not me. I just hope that you give me another shot.' Fortunately, I got lucky and good things happened for me."

The Auburn senior says he is really pleased that he decided to play college football. "I never would have guessed this would happen," Crofoot says. "I have got that SEC Championship ring and everyday people look at it and say, ‘That's not yours. Look at how small you are.' And I will say, ‘It is mine, and here's a picture of me doing it' (playing football.)"

Crofoot says that his goal is to be an entrepreneur and start a small business. He plans to take 12 hours of classes this fall that he figures will help in that pursuit and enjoy his final season of football while doing it. As long as he continues to snap like he did last season and this past spring, there will always be a spot for him on the Auburn team bus, plane or whatever mode of transportation the Tigers are using to get to their next football game.

Article One, Jamoga Ramsey

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