The journey back to recovery has been long and winding for Gulliver Prep (Fla.) standout Frank Crawford, but an ACL injury isn't the only obstacle standing in the way of his arrival in Oxford.
While many Ole Miss signees have already made their way on campus, Crawford still has work to do. The talented defensive back is currently taking a class in hopes of improving his GPA, as ruling on his academic eligibility waits in the coming weeks.
"It's going alright," Crawford said of the summer workload. "I'll be qualifying once I get done with this class. It's no big deal. I'll get the grade I need and be on campus August 1st."
Although Crawford has been consumed with his studies this summer, building strength in his injured knee is also an issue.
He tore his ACL in the first game of his senior season and was required to have surgery in October. Countless hours of rehab have followed, but Crawford feels he's inching closer to full activity.
"My knee is doing real well," he said. "Rehab has gone really well. But I'm ready to get back on the field. It's been a difficult process. I'm ready to put this behind me and get back to playing.
"It's come along better than I thought it would. At first, it was hard to work with. I've done a lot of rehab with it and now it feels better than my other knee. It's stronger and everything. I'm doing every workout like it never happened. My doctor told me to not think about the past and look to what's ahead."
Frank had two interceptions and six tackles in his only game of action of Gulliver Prep's run to the Class 2A State Championship game last season. As a junior, however, Crawford earned first team All-Dade and second team All-State after collecting 65 tackles and six interceptions.
Collegiate scouts took notice, as Crawford earned scholarship offers from South Carolina, Alabama, FSU, Minnesota, South Florida, FIU and Purdue before deciding on Ole Miss.
"My goal is to get back on the field," said Crawford. "I'm trying to get back to 100 percent. I want to play like the injury never happened. I've been rehabbing it so I can try and come back stronger than ever."
Crawford's freshman goals are simple.
There's a realistic shot at playing time in the Rebel secondary considering the team's lack of depth, but the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder only seeks a return to action.
"I'm ready. I'm just hungry to get out there," he said. "It's been a long period of time since I last played. I've been stressed over all the things that went on with my senior year. It's been very hard trying to get back on track. I'll be motivated when I get there. All of my family is ready to see me on the field. I'm the first one to ever go to a Division-I school. They're all excited."
But unless he takes care of his school work, his future in Red and Blue will remain on hold.
"I talk to (cornerbacks) Coach (Chris) Vaughn all the time. I just have to get cleared," Crawford said. "Once they see I'm ready, he said they'll put me in and see what I can do. I've already sat out one year. Now I'm ready to get out there and do what I do."
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