Mark Crawford feature: Part 1 of 4

When he was trying to decide where he wanted to finish his college football career, Mark Crawford saw a lot of pluses at the University of Kentucky.

When he was trying to decide where he wanted to finish his college football career, Mark Crawford saw a lot of pluses at the University of Kentucky.

First, the chance to play in the Southeastern Conference appealed to him just like it did many of his current UK teammates. Second, Kentucky is close to his home in Indianapolis, which is even more important since Crawford became a father in April. "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," he said.

Then there is defensive line coach Rick Petri. He's perhaps the biggest reason Crawford was immediately attracted to Kentucky.

"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.

Crawford was one of the nation's top 100 junior college prospects at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College after making 41 tackles and getting 6.5 quarterback sacks last year. He only played two years of high school football in Indianapolis, one reason he redshirted his first year at Coffeyville and still has three years of eligibility remaining after joining Kentucky in January.

Petri liked what he saw from Crawford during spring practice and has high hopes for him.

"All you can do is ask him to work hard and get better, and he did that. He has a great attitude. He comes, he chases hard, he really pursues the ball well. He has to understand we play a little bit different than what he has done in the past, and he's getting that. He really has a good attitude and wants to be good, two things that I really like," Petri said.

Crawford has an outgoing personality to match his non-stop motor on the field and he shared these thoughts on his move to Kentucky.


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