Massillon (Ohio) Washington standout linebacker Shawn Crable is widely considered one of the top prospects at his position in the entire country – and for good reason.
Crable finished last season with 105 tackles, six interceptions, and two interceptions while playing outside linebacker. Preparing for what he hopes will be an outstanding senior season, Crable has attended three summer camps so far this year.
He went to the Michigan camp for two days, followed by a team camp in Kentucky, and ended his summer camp tour with a stop at Ohio State's one-day camp. The talented linebacker talked about that experience.
"Michigan was pretty nice," Crable told me. "I had a teammate a couple years ago that went to Michigan and they've been recruiting me real hard so I wanted to check them out. The camp we went to in Kentucky had really bad food. It was so bad that nobody wanted to eat what they were serving. I pretty much just ate fruit all week and lost some weight. I was only 215 pounds at the Ohio State camp. I ran a 4.50 on turf, but I think I could have done better if I was at full strength. I'm closer to 225 now."
The super talented linebacker has been playing football for half his life. He talked about his experiences early on in his career.
"I used to live in Canton and we could start midgets at that age," he said. "When I first started playing, I played tailback mostly. But then as time went on, I pretty much played every position. The coaches said I always used to be one of the best athletes on the field so they played me all over. My freshman year in high school, I played free safety and tailback. My sophomore year, they moved me to inside linebacker. But then about four games into the season, they moved me outside. I've been playing there ever since."
Because of his size/speed combination, many college coaches have talked about playing Crable as a defensive end, but he's not ready to accept that just yet.
"I'm an outside linebacker," he said. "I have been playing linebacker for most of my life and I really think I can keep playing there. Yeah, I know I'm tall and I know I'll probably get a lot bigger, but I can still run better than most linebackers. Some of these coaches tell me I'll be a defensive end, but I'm like ‘I'm not going to be a defensive end.' But in the end, I just want an opportunity."
Exactly how big does Crable see himself getting?
"I see myself starting college around 240. I'm about 225 now so that means 15 more pounds over the next year or so," he said. "After a couple years in a college weight room, I see myself being 260-265 pounds."
Crable, who carries a 2.9 GPA inside the classroom to go along with a 16 on the ACT, also competes in varsity basketball and track. In fact, he's one of the state's better basketball players as well. As a junior, he averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks per game.
Speaking of track, Crable had an interesting story about his rare speed for someone that size.
"I broke my foot as a sophomore," he said. "I was running about a 4.6 before the injury and then as soon as I was able to run again, I started getting in the 4.5 range. It was really weird because I didn't even rehab. It's like I got faster overnight."
Crable said he never expected any of this success as a football player.
"Back in 7th grade, I was 5-foot-5," he said. "I was sorry at everything. I remember going to the doctor and getting measured at 5-5 and then all of a sudden, I started growing. When I went back to the doctor six months later, I was 6-3. So when I started high school, I was already 6-4."
"I started to really change my attitude towards football," he said. "In the past, I always just to go through drills or whatever because I played. But recently, I started to make sure I was always the first in line during drills. I always wanted to demonstrate stuff. I started developing a better attitude and a better understanding towards the game. It upsets me when I hear people talking negative stuff. I try to change their attitudes or just stay away from them. I've been blessed with a great opportunity and I want to make sure I make the most of it."
Crable will have plenty of opportunities throughout his future football career. College coaches from across the country have been trying to convince him of the opportunities at their schools.
"I got so many calls in May," he said. "At first it was real exciting and made me happy, but then I started getting so many that it kind of got boring."
Crable has already received written scholarship offers from a number of major programs.
"I've gotten them from Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, Boston College, Iowa, Illinois, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, and USC," he said. "Others like Clemson, Notre Dame, and Syracuse have offered me on the phone."
With so many opportunities, Crable talked about some of the ones he's most interested in at this point.
"I don't really have any particular favorites or anything," he said. "But I have decided on two of my official visits – Miami and USC. The others, I don't know if those are my top two choices, but they are the two schools that I know for sure that I'll be visiting."
Crable talked about what he likes most about the Hurricanes.
"Miami's a great program," he said. "I like the weather there, and the coaches seem real cool. I mean, who isn't interested in them. They're coming off a national championship season and even before then they were good. I've liked Miami since I was a little kid. I love their jerseys and I like some of their players. I haven't been able to meet any of them yet, but I've seen how they carry themselves and the way people talk about them. Coach Stoops is real cool, plus they have a great business department. I can't wait to see them."
The elite linebacker prospect said he was actually surprised when UM started recruiting him.
"Miami always recruits a bunch of great athletes," he said. "Based on where they're at, I know they don't have to go far to find players like me, so I was real excited when I found out Miami was recruiting me. I mean, we're talking about a team whose second team defensive line right now is as good as their first team. That's unbelievable. I love competition. When you see other guys busting their ass, it makes you want to work that much harder yourself."
Crable said he's wide open when considering the other three visit spots, so I asked him about a few schools in particular.
"Michigan's up there, probably in my top three or four," he said. "I've been there before and like it. Plus I have a former teammate there. It might be one of the places I take an official visit to. I also like Ohio State. Being from Ohio, I've already seen everything there is to see about them, though. I'm not stuck on them right now."
So what are the chances the talented linebacker will leave the state for college?
"Oh, I have no problem at all leaving," he said. "I have to go somewhere that I will fit in. I'm not sure where that's at and that's why I will take some visits to see what's out there and what is the best opportunity for me."
Crable then talked about his goals for this coming season.
"I want to dominate every play of every game," he said. "Of course I want to be the best player I can and everything, but most important to me is being a team leader. That's what it's all about."
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