Jamar Criswell collects two offers

Jamar Criswell, out of the bantam town of Morrilton, Ark., is receiving serious attention from recruiters after a momentous sophomore season, his very first on varsity. Criswell, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound, do-everything type at running back, slot receiver, and occasional defensive back, racked up more than 1,000 rushing yards and close to 650 yards receiving on the way to 1st team All-State honors.


"As a sophomore, I felt like I played with a better attitude," Jamar Criswell said. "The way I carried myself during the game improved. I tried to help my teammates move on after a bad situation and keep them motivated. I'd tell them ‘on the next play, let's get some payback'. I also tried to play the game with sportsmanship by helping the other team's players up after the play. We didn't have a good year at 3-7, but we really started to focus and come together as a team and we won our last two games."

Criswell received early offers after the aeason from Kansas State and Arkansas State. Interest has been expressed by Ole Miss, UConn, Nebraska, Auburn, and Louisiana-Monroe, where his older brother, Justin Criswell, plays football.

"Kansas State called and talked to my Dad," said Criswell. "They said they really liked my highlight tape, and told my Dad I had an offer. I think it was the running back coach (Dana Dimel) who called. I know it's a great school.

"When you play in the Big 12, you're playing against people better than you are, and that type of competition helps you move up and improve as a player. I'd like to visit, but right now I only have summer trips scheduled to Arkansas, Arkansas State, and Ole Miss."

Criswell has made one trip this spring to the University of Arkansas's Junior Day and plans to return this summer to camp. He speaks often with brother Justin, a redshirt freshman at ULM, about the recruiting process.

"What kind of strength and conditioning program the school has is something I consider," Criswell said on choosing a university. "I want to go somewhere with good facilities. It has to be a place where I feel at home. I don't want to play for bad coaches who'll tell me I'm going to play and end up sitting out for four years. So it's important to find a good staff that believes in me and can help me to continue to develop my game."

In practice, Criswell ran his best 40 time of 4.4. Currently he's in spring practice at Morrilton where they started in full pads.

"When I get into the open, my adrenaline starts to pick up," Criswell stated. "From there, I'm hard to catch. I hit the holes hard and try to break it for a touchdown. I was playing basketball this spring, but stopped because I wanted to focus on getting stronger for football. I'm trying to add some weight for the season so I'll be even harder to bring down."

Criswell reached the endzone 19 times for the Devil Dogs last season. As a running back he gained 1,074 yards, and at slot receiver he brought in 67 catches for 647 yards.

Morrilton Head Coach, Cody McNabb, also used Criswell often in the 'Wildcat' formation. He was named 1st team All-State (5A West) despite playing for a team with a losing record. Criswell believes they have the talent to get things turned around this year.

"At the beginning of last season, we just didn't play as a team," Criswell said, "and we know we need to do that to achieve success. If we can play together I think we can win a lot more games and make a run at state. My personal goal is to break all of my big brother's rushing records and make more touchdowns happen."

One of Criswell's older brother's records is 422 rushing yards in a game as a senior, so breaking all of his records will take a huge effort from his sibling. Criswell is a cousin to Tennessee Lady Vol basketball standout, Shekinna Stricklen, also from Morrilton. When Criswell gets to college, he plans to study athletic training.
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