Crowell Upbeat After Injury, Commitment

Ohio State's 2011 recruiting class broke a dry spell of four-plus months without a commitment Nov. 5 when three-star linebacker prospect Conner Crowell pledged to the program. One week later, his prep career was over after suffering a grisly injury. caught up with the future Buckeye.

It is safe to say that Conner Crowell has experienced a week he will never forget.

On senior night at his high school of Waldorf (Md.) North Point on Nov. 5, the linebacker announced his verbal commitment to Ohio State and then went out and led his team to victory. Exactly one week later, Crowell suffered a broken ankle on what The Washington Post termed a grisly injury in a first-round playoff loss.

One day removed from his Nov. 13 surgery, Crowell told that he will recover from the injury and come back stronger than ever. First, though, comes a recovery period that will last several months.

Crowell said he will be on crutches and unable to put pressure on the left ankle for 10 weeks. Four months from now, he will undergo a second surgical procedure to remove the screws in his ankle.

For now, though, his spirits are high thanks to those around him.

"The whole school and everybody else is behind me," he said. "They've been supporting me. I got a lot of Facebook messages and people are texting me and calling me just to see how I'm doing. A lot of people are coming to see me, so everybody has been really supportive about it. I feel great about the family and friends that I have."

The injury occurred when the three-star linebacker was carrying the football on offense.

"This guy didn't want to hit me up top so I was running the ball and he dove at my legs," he said. "He hit my ankle and my foot just twisted all the way around. It was pulling the way it wasn't supposed to."

As he lay on the field immediately after suffering the injury, Crowell said he was hit by a wave of emotions.

"It was terrible when I was just laying there on the field screaming," he said. "A lot of it was from the pain, but a lot of it was my realization this was my last high school football game of my career. To be out in the first quarter and to get hurt, it just hurt my feelings more than anything that I couldn't be on the field with my teammates and help them win."

It had been a different story one week earlier, however. Having narrowed his choice to either the Buckeyes or hometown favorite Penn State, Crowell chose OSU because of something linebackers coach Luke Fickell told him.

"I just wanted to be one of the first from Maryland to go to Ohio State," he told BBS. "I was just trying to start a new pipeline for Ohio State. Coach Fickell said that they needed somebody to be the first and to help them start recruiting this area more so that they can start getting better players. This is a Penn State-dominated area."

With that, the Buckeyes had their first verbal commitment in more than four months. Crowell is rated the No. 23 prospect at his position by Crowell added that a member of his team's coaching staff is acquainted with Fickell and had been pushing the linebacker to the OSU staff.

Crowell's announcement came before his team kicked off senior night Nov. 5. As the Eagles honored seniors from each fall sport team, Crowell went last. Cradling the microphone, he announced his decision to a packed house.

"I thanked all my friends and family and teammates and coaches and then I told them I'd be going to Ohio State," he said. "Pretty much everybody just went nuts. The whole stadium went crazy. It was a good experience. It sounded like everybody was excited."

The 2010 PSU roster boasts 11 players who hail from Maryland including one – redshirt freshman fullback Andre Dupree – who is a North Point alumnus. OSU last landed a commitment from Maryland in 2009, when four-star cornerback Dominic Clarke from Frederick Tuscarora joined.

He is the first linebacker to join the class. Crowell actually made his decision Oct. 31 but wanted to wait for senior night to make the announcement.

"Everybody knew I was announcing Friday so they would keep asking me to try and get an answer out of me," he said. "I just kept messing with everybody's minds so it wasn't too hard (to wait). I thought it was pretty fun. I guess I surprised everybody."

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