Call him Channing Crowder and he is one of the South's top linebackers. He is also an outstanding student with great leadership abilities. The latter has been very evident since America was struck by terrorism last week.


The top linebacker from Metro Atlanta is Randolph Crowder. Crowder, 6-2 and 225 pounds (4.6 forty), plays for Sandy Springs (Ga.) North Springs High School.

"People call me Channing," said Crowder. "My father, Randy Crowder, played in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Miami. When I was little, everyone called me ‘little Randy' and I didn't like it. So they started calling me Channing because that's my middle name."

Like his father (who played at Penn State) was, the younger Crowder is a coveted high school football player. Right now, he has scholarship offers from Georgia (camp), Georgia Tech (camp), SMU and South Carolina (camp). Those are his favorites plus the number one ranked Miami Hurricanes.

"I went down to Miami last year and I really liked it. I like Georgia Tech but they do not have my major. I want to be a veterinarian. I am looking into that academic situation with them. Both Georgia and South Carolina have really nice coaches. Plus, Georgia needs linebackers and we play basically the same defense they do."

North Spring High School is 2-0 on the young season. In those two ball games, Crowder has 24 tackles and 2 sacks. He plays middle linebacker and fullback. In their last victory against Dunwoody (Ga.) High School, Crowder rushed for 156 yards and 3 scores and their defense only allowed 23 total yards. That's impressive.

Now most schools are recruiting Crowder as a "Mike" linebacker. "Schools like me in the middle but because of my speed and quickness, they say I could play on the outside. I really do not care. I just want to go out there and hit somebody."

You have to love that attitude. Another strong aspect of Mr. Crowder is his leadership skills and that is something his teammates and classmates have looked too because of the tragic events in New York and Washington D.C. last week.

"They (students and teammates) all come up to me and ask why that happened and how will it effect us? One guy was worried he would be drafted soon by our military. We have a few guys from New York City. Everyone was kind of scared. I tell people that things are going to change in our country but everything will be OK. I tell you what, it is a lot easier to be a leader on the field because there you can lead by example. But I don't mind because I like helping guys out."

As you can imagine, Crowder is a great student. He carries a 3.4 grade point average (core) and has already scored a 1050 SAT. Top Stories