Crosby Will Play Early- Bank On It

Roscoe Crosby has been through a lot during the last 18 months. Between professional baseball and off-the-field incidents, the former Union star is just happy to be back playing football at Clemson. "I really don't like to put a lot of expectations on myself. I just want to blend back in and gel with the team," Crosby said.

It's hard to believe that it's been almost two full years since we've seen one of the most celebrated wide receivers in South Carolina High School history play football at Clemson University.

It's hard to believe, but it's true.

After not having stepped onto the field since the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, Roscoe Crosby is back playing football for the Clemson Tigers.

Crosby went through his first day of practice Monday afternoon, but not before taking some good natured ribbing from some of his teammates. "When I was in the locker room before practice, I went to put on my ankle brace, and I had it on backwards," Crosby said laughing.

"Ryan Hemby was beside me, and he was like, 'man it's been a long time since you played hasn't it?' I told him it was and we just laughed about it. It's good to be back around my teammates."

Most skeptics scoffed at the notion that Crosby would somehow become eligible to play this season, but after Associate Athletic Director Phil Grayson announced that the Medical Absence Waiver filed on behalf of Crosby with the ACC had been approved, Crosby couldn't believe it.

"It surprised me that they are letting me play," Crosby said. "It surprised everybody- me and my family because nobody expects the NCAA to do something like that, they are pretty tough on a lot of things."

Crosby reported to camp at a fit 203 pounds, and looks physically ready to play. Fortunately for him, the Tigers really haven't started putting in their official gameplan for the season opener against Georgia.

That begins Tuesday afternoon.

"From a timing standpoint, he's getting here at a good time, because we really haven't put in the set packages for Georgia yet," said wide receivers' coach Dabo Swinney. "If he would have come any later, it would have pretty much been impossible for him to play in that first game because we start all of that tomorrow."

For Crosby, he feels as though he'll be ready to play in 11 days against the Bulldogs, but he has his own time frame in place as to when he feels like he'll be able to get the job done on his terms.

"I think I'll be ready for the Georgia game, but by the third game I should be good to go."

As far as regaining his starting position this season, the former Union star will start out with the third group of receivers for now and work his way up the depth chart.

"I'm going to come out and work as hard as I can and I'll let everything else take care of itself," Crosby added. "I'm thinking I can play against Georgia, but I know I have to work hard and spend some extra time in the weight room and a lot of time running."

Head coach Tommy Bowden had nothing but positives for one of the top recruits he's ever signed at Clemson.

"Well, he looked great in shorts," Bowden joked with the media. "You know what his capabilities are, he's just had some bad luck with injuries and stuff on the football field that year. With that said, if he can pick up where he left off, I think we'll have a pretty good product."

Crosby, who will be a red-shirt sophomore in 2003, had 27 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns in 2001. He started four games, including wins over Duke and Louisiana Tech at the end of the season when he had a combined 10 catches for 208 yards and three touchdowns.

Insiders' Note: Nobody is saying it publicly, but it will be very hard to keep this standout off the field against the Georgia Bulldogs. He reported to camp in great shape, as both Coach Swinney and Tommy Bowden noted after practice. Just as important, he's got a great attitude about what he's got to do to get back onto the field. With the gameplan for Georgia going into effect Tuesday afternoon, don't be surprised to see Crosby get the same number of snaps as a Kelvin Grant or Tony Eliot on August 30th.

CUTigers.com Top Stories