Craddock Returns to Action

North Carolina pledge Albert Craddock will suit up for his first football game action Thursday since Nov. 10, 2006.

Craddock, whose last game was with High Point (N.C.) Southwest Guilford, is now at East Mississippi Community College. Last listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he spent preseason practice this month auditioning at safety and linebacker in EMCC's Tampa-2 defense.

"Albert is a tremendous talent – he has an unbelievable motor, very fast – but he just didn't have the instincts to play in the secondary," East Mississippi defensive coordinator William Jones said. "Now, he has the athletic ability to play in the secondary, but he just didn't quite have the instincts for [defensive back] because he didn't do it a lot."

Heading into the season opener against Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Craddock has settled in at WILL linebacker, where he is battling for playing time.

"Right now, he's working in with some guys," Jones said. "Right now, we don't know what his status is. But he is working hard."

Craddock has, however, earned a spot on East Mississippi's third-down pass-rush package.

"We play him on the open side defensive end, where he can use his speed to rush the passer," Jones said. "He has unbelievable pad level; he knows how to finish; and to be honest with you, he's playing at a different speed than a lot of our guys while rushing the passer.

"He may not have the size to do it in the ACC, but for us that's where it seemed like he could be very much a force and a factor. He could probably do it for North Carolina as a third down pass rusher."

Additionally, Craddock will be featured on several of the special teams units.

A member of North Carolina's 2007 signing class, Craddock enrolled at Pearl River Community College after he failed to qualify. However, he enrolled too late to play for Pearl River's powerhouse football team.

After the 2007 season, Buddy Stephens, a Pearl River assistant coach, was hired as the head coach of East Mississippi. Stephens brought Jones along with him.

Craddock followed the two former Pearl River assistant coaches to East Mississippi.

"I have a relationship with Butch Davis and Tommy Thigpen," Jones said. "Basically Coach Thig and Butch put him in Pearl River with me. And when I left, Albert wanted to leave. It didn't have anything to do with Pearl River particularly or East Mississippi, it had to do with my relationship with Coach Davis and Coach Thigpen."

Although he didn't play football in 2007 and actually verbally committed to John Bunting's coaching staff, UNC is expected to honor Craddock's scholarship offer and verbal commitment.

"As far as I know, they want him back and I haven't been told otherwise," Jones said. "At whatever time, they will make that determination. Obviously, they would like him back. We're not letting him talk to any other colleges, because he's basically a placed person. Until they say otherwise, that's where he's going.

"He obviously has to do the academic work, stay out of trouble – the whole nine yards – to satisfy what they want to see."

Jones says Craddock is doing well in his classes, but as a JuCo transfer, Craddock will have to graduate from East Mississippi in order to become academically eligible to play Division I football. Thus, the earliest he can depart is after the spring semester.

Albert Craddock Profile

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