JUCO transfer working for spot in rotation

Junior college transfer Mark Crawford says he has made a smooth transition to Kentucky as he tries to put himself into the playing rotation at defensive tackle during spring practice.

Junior college transfer Mark Crawford says he has made a smooth transition to Kentucky as he tries to put himself into the playing rotation at defensive tackle during spring practice.

If anything, he thinks spending almost two years at Coffeyville Junior College in Kansas helped him, especially since he was redshirted the first year and will still have three years of eligibility at Kentucky.

"I think sometimes guys may come in and may think they know everything out of high school. But it's easy here because the maturity level is so high. You are playing against big guys like Christian Johnson or Zipp Duncan here like you did in junior college already," Walker said.

"Plus, in junior college you had a chance to get some classes out of the way while you matured more. Coming here as a freshman, I might not have gone to class like I was supposed to. After going to junior college, I go to class every day, keep up with my work and I approach my academics way more different than I might have if I had come here as a freshman."

So junior college was good for you?

"It was great for me. If I could do it over, I would do it again," the Indianapolis native said. "I would not have said that in the beginning. I was upset when I got there. But after my experience there, getting my grades and getting some classes out of the way, my maturity level has really risen to help me handle things here at Kentucky. Now I can say, ‘I am too mature to go do something like that. Let me go take care of business instead.'"

He wanted to play in the Southeastern Conference. However, two other things about Kentucky also appealed to him.

"It is close to home. I have a little girl on the way that is due April 23 and I want all my family to be able to come and see me and I want to make sure I can get back and do things as a father for her," he said.

Then there was the chance to learn under coach Rick Petri.

"His resume is real good. I want to be the best, and he has coached the best. Nothing else fit like him. Nobody else's resume fit like coach Petri. I was willing to go a long ways to get to play for him and get better," Crawford said.


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