2010 Intro: Rob Crisp

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- For three years, Rob Crisp's walk home from Bravo Middle School included passing Cummings High School's football practice. Even as a middle schooler, Crisp looked capable of starting for the powerhouse football program, which has won five state championships.

"He was big even back then," Cummings offensive coordinator Jay Perdue recalled. "We would all say ‘hi' to him as he passed by and couldn't wait for him to get to Cummings." However, Crisp, now 6-foot-7 and 302 pounds, would never make it to Cummings.

At Bravo, Crisp participated in both football and basketball, while also playing AAU basketball under head coach Pete Singer. During his eighth grade year, he was ruled academically ineligible when he failed to pass his seventh grade End-of-Grade test.

Junior Highlights:

Midway through his eighth grade year, Crisp moved to Chapel Hill to live with Singer.

"When I was living in Burlington, I wasn't in the best situation academic-wise," Crisp said. "… [Singer], he was thinking ‘This guy that has all this potential he shouldn't be getting into trouble and getting bad grades.' Him and my mom and I sat down and we decided it would be best if I were to move in with him to make sure my future is positive."

After the move, Crisp attended Abundant Life Christian Academy in Hillsborough, where he used the remainder the academic year to pass both the seventh and eighth grade.

Crisp then attended Chapel Hill High School, where he played both football and basketball as a freshman.

"He played up on varsity immediately," Chapel Hill head football coach Isaac Marsh said. "He got limited action, but he was up on varsity playing. He was just learning and you could tell he was going to excel at this sport."

Heading into his sophomore season, Crisp earned the starting left tackle position. Regardless, basketball still held precedence.

"I was definitely a basketball fan," Crisp said. "I really concentrated on basketball, where I wasn't really focusing my future on football. I was really big. I was actually top in the state for basketball when I was younger. Basketball was, I thought, my key to success."

However, during his sophomore year while playing AAU basketball for the CP3 All-Stars, Crisp's outlook changed.

"Some things happened with that [basketball] team and I finally started to see I don't have as much physical ability to play basketball," Crisp said. "And my body frame was getting bigger than most of the kids."

That subsequent summer, Crisp attended several football camps – including the Adidas Camp at NC State and the Nike Camp at North Carolina – and his football reputation grew.

"When you take a guy that size and his feet can move as well as his, you knew he was a natural and has a lot of potential playing football," Marsh said.

After East Carolina verbally offered him a scholarship that summer, Crisp realized football had the potential to provide him a free college education. On September 1, the first day juniors can be officially offered, Crisp received over ten offers.

Crisp now has been offered by 30-40 schools, including every ACC school, as well as Georgia, Kansas State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

"You name a school and they have called me," Marsh said.

As a junior, Crisp gave up basketball and became a two-way starter on the football team. In addition to his offensive tackle duties, Crisp started on a defensive line that also included UNC signee Jared McAdoo.

"We tried to use him as much as possible without him becoming tired," Marsh said. "Offensively, he's one that we definitely have to have out on the field for run blocking and pass blocking situations because he's one of the best offensive linemen in the state. We tried to keep him fresh, but rotated him in on defense."

Besides his athletic ability, Crisp provided leadership.

"I'm not the same person off the field," Crisp said. "You wouldn't like me if I was on the field – that's how into the game I am. Even though I'm not a senior, I just always felt I'm the person that needs to motivate the offensive line."

With Chapel Hill losing 22 seniors this year, Crisp's leadership is extending off the field and to the entire team this offseason.

"I'm trying to push as many people as I can, especially offensive linemen, to get into the weight room," Crisp said. "If you're not doing a spring sport or a winter sport, I need to see you in the weight room."

Before heading into his senior football season, Crisp plans to have his list of colleges under consideration narrowed to five.

"What I'm most looking for: the environment of the school, the academic reputation, the football program, and just the relationship I have with the coaches, the fans, and the players," Crisp said.

At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 9, Crisp plans to announce his collegiate destination.

Crisp says he doesn't have any favorite schools.

"I'm still wide open," Crisp said. "I tell everybody that. I'm still trying to get as much information about every school as I can."

Living with Singer, who is a NC State season ticket holder, many presume Crisp will end up selecting the Wolfpack. Crisp says that's an incorrect assumption.

"I tried to let everybody know just because the family that I'm living with are State fans, doesn't mean I'm necessary going to go to that school," Crisp said. "I love State. I have season tickets there – I will admit that. If State was my favorite school, I wouldn't tell everyone I had season tickets there – I would try to keep it hidden."

Another perceived influence is McAdoo, who, as Crisp says, sports UNC gear every day.

"Jared knows I'm my own man," Crisp said. "Jared would love for me to be a Tar Heel, but he knows it's my decision. He doesn't try to pressure me about it."

The lone admitted influence is Pete Singer, Jr. who plays defensive back for Chapel Hill and lives with Crisp.

"The plan is to go to the same school – that's what we want to do," Crisp said. "… Hopefully, a school offers him and offers me, things click and I like that school and he likes that school."

NC State is the only school to offer Singer.

UNC started its recruitment of Crisp on the wrong foot, but has since repaired the situation.

"The first junior day I went to at Carolina, I wasn't that impressed with them," Crisp said. "But this past junior day I went to this year was totally different – it was the complete opposite of my first junior day there. Everybody just showed me so much love.

"I actually felt like Carolina wasn't showing me as much love in the beginning. But now I can see – the fans and the players even – the coaches show they really want me there."

John Blake, who helped earn McAdoo's verbal commitment, is recruiting Crisp for UNC.

"Coach Blake is a cool guy, first of all," Crisp said. "We don't talk as much. When we do talk we laugh all the time. There's a bond there."

In addition to UNC, Crisp has attended junior days at Georgia, NC State, and South Carolina. He plans to unofficially visit Tennessee this spring and attend at least two camps this summer.

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