In-Depth with Craig Bokor

70 points, that number still rings out loud and clear in the mind of Valley Forge Military Academy's Craig Bokor. That was the number by which Bokor missed his required score on the SAT test to be permitted by the NCAA Clearinghouse to be eligible to play football for the University of Pittsburgh.

In late August Bokor was dealt with a crushing blow, he was 70 points short on the SAT, he would not join his close friends and fellow Pitt recruits Darrelle Revis and Corey Davis, he would no longer enjoy the simplest things such as sitting around and listening to his Kanye West cd's, or spending time with his girlfriend. Bokor had to enroll at Valley Forge Military Academy; the big time athlete from Hopewell (PA) went from popular jock to "plebe".

Bokor sat down with me recently as we had an hour-long discussion about a variety of topics. As I have gotten to know Craig over the past 6-8 months I can assure you that the experience he is enduring has changed him, it has matured him beyond his years. Now he shares his story with the Pittsburgh Panther faithful.

BOB: What would you say is the hardest about being at VFMA?

CRAIG: "Being away from home for so long, you don't realize it until it happens but it's hard."

BOB: Describe a typical day at VFMA?

CRAIG: at 5:30 am I wake up and clean my room, shine my shoes, dress into uniform. Then we have 10 minutes to form and march to breakfast. We then go back to the dorms and clean they call this "doing details" for 20 minutes, we then shave and form up for school call. We then attend a few classes, then we march for company formation and go to lunch, we have PT "Physical Training" I am a leader so I have to teach the younger kids how to do it properly. We do PT for 1 hour, and then it's off to football practice. We then catch the 3rd mess for dinner, we have a 2-hour study hall, more details. Then it's a 30 second cold shower and bedtime at 10 pm.

BOB: How often do you get to go home?

CRAIG: I was home for one night over the weekend because we played Kiski Prep, so I have been home one night in 2 ½ months.

BOB: Have you taken SATS since you've been at VFMA?

CRAIG: Yes, I needed 70 points when I got here, and in 2 months of studying I now only need 30 to get the required score.

BOB: Do you have a class specifically geared towards the SAT?

CRAIG: I have a tutoring session 3 times a week, plus I study on my own.

BOB: Do you feel like you took your status as an athlete for granted? Everyone compares you and Darrelle Revis. He did what he had to do and is now starting at Pitt, and you didn't qualify.

CRAIG: I did take it for granted, I thought because of who I was I would make it. Coming here has made me more hungry to succeed then ever before. It has made me realize that hard work in the books goes as far as hard work in the weight room. I focus on very few things, making sure I qualify, Pitt, and going home.

BOB: So it would be safe to assume you will be attending Pittsburgh, after your stay at VFMA?

CRAIG: If God and I get everything done here like I am supposed to then I will be at Pitt as soon as possible. I can't wait to play for coach Harris. I want to make him proud when I run onto Heinz Field.

BOB: I'm sure you hear all of the negativity directed towards Harris in the papers in Pittsburgh. What are your thoughts on that situation?

CRAIG: If they hire a new coach I would hope that he would want me there. Walt was the biggest reason I chose to go to Pittsburgh. I grew up liking them so it will always be my team but I stand behind coach Harris no matter what his record is.

BOB: Obviously one of the biggest downfalls at Pitt has been the recruiting in Western Pennsylvania, How can that be fixed?

CRAIG: Everyone has this fascination with "Happy Valley" and the Big Ten, If Pitt was in a conference like that they'd get a lot more local kids. A lot of kids say that they don't like the city campus, but some do like it. Pitt just needs to win a few titles and everything else will take care of it's self.

BOB: I have to ask, give me your take on the whole situation with Anthony Morelli and Andrew Johnson.

CRAIG: I think what they did was flat out wrong, and I don't like it. Each of them did it for reasons that they thought were worthy. I wish both of them the best.

BOB: How much would it mean to you to play Penn State again.

CRAIG: That would be fun; I know a lot of people who would be gunning for #14 just to say I told you so. I'll give him credit he is a great QB. I'd like to play them just because my best friend Paul Posluszny is there, so it would be nice to have 2 old friends going at it.

BOB: Have you gotten to watch any Pitt games?

CRAIG: I watched the Temple game on TV. I like the attitude of the team; there are lots of young players and no hype,  they are all about football. I can't wait to join the "Hit Squad".

BOB: Are you still being recruited, and what offers have you received?

CRAIG: Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and LSU all came by last week. Miami, Virginia, and West Virginia were all at the game Saturday. Wisconsin, Boston College, Georgia, and Auburn have all been in contact. All of them have offered except Miami they said if I decide to leave Pitt they'll offer. I tell all of them I'm staying with Pitt.

BOB: How is the season going and what position are you playing?

CRAIG: We are (5-1) I play strictly defense; I rotate between NT and DE. I have 56 tackles, 6 sacks, and 1 interception. We have 3 games left.

BOB: Are their any other Pitt recruits at VFMA?

CRAIG: There's a kid here who plays FB Adam Atiyeh from Parkland, he likes Pitt his dad played for them back in the day.

BOB: When will you retake the SAT test?

CRAIG: November 6th.

BOB: How much longer until you get to go home?

CRAIG: In 3 weeks I get to take my college visit to Pittsburgh, and I'll get to be home for the "Backyard Brawl".

BOB: Well Craig Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to fill us in on your progress, best of luck to you.

CRAIG: Your Welcome and Thank You.

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