Azle 2015 LB One To Watch

It's been a while since Azle, TX has sent a player to a D-1 football program. 2015 LB Johnny Crow could change that.

It's been over a decade since the Azle (TX) Hornets have had a player receive a D-1 football scholarship. Aaron Shanor, a class of 2003 product, played linebacker for Air Force from 2005-2007. Current Philadelphia Eagles tight end James Casey, another Azle alum, originally played in the Chicago White Sox minor league system a few seasons before receiving a scholarship to play football for Rice and eventually moving on to an NFL career.

To put it nicely, Hornet players that have received major college scholarships in football have been few and far between.

However, that number could soon change.

Former Azle star and current head coach Devon Dorris is in the process of resurrecting the Hornets' program; winners of just five games in three years before his arrival in 2010. In just his third season at his alma mater, Dorris led the Hornets to a 7-4 record and their first playoff berth since 2005. The team's success came against arguably one of the toughest 4A districts in the state; a district that includes Wichita Falls Rider and 2012 Class 4A state champion Denton Guyer.

Although the Hornets were hit hard with graduation, a 10-0 district champion junior varsity and 7-3 freshman team has the town "buzzing" with optimism for a return trip to the playoffs in 2013.

Also returning for the Hornets are several talented athletes from the 2015 class who made significant contributions as sophomores; headlined by linebacker Johnny Crow. At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Crow whom Dorris refers to as the "real deal", could be next in line to earn a major scholarship.

Crow started every game at linebacker for the Hornets in 2012, racking up 68 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 5 forces fumbles, 5 pass breakups and 2 fumble recoveries. He also scored a defensive touchdown against Rider.

Several college programs made their way to Azle this spring to catch a glimpse of the rising prospect. Although he couldn't speak with the coaches due to NCAA rules, Crow knows he's being watched.

"We had a really good spring," Crow said. "I know Oklahoma came by, OSU (Oklahoma State) came by and Texas Tech. That's what schools I can remember stopping by. Coach Dorris told me that they were asking about me and watching me."

Crow has received interest from several colleges that want him to attend camps at the respective schools this summer. He's been caught by surprise by the school currently showing him the most interest.

"Iowa State, I've probably got 13 or 14 letters from them," he said of the school showing the most interest. "I've got about fourteen invites to attend camps from Princeton, Harvard, Texas Tech, OSU, Oklahoma, North Texas, Baylor and some others."

In-state programs such as Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech have sent letters but the Red Raiders are showing the most interest according to Crow.

"TCU has sent me a letter but I'd say the most interest I've got from in-state is Texas Tech," Crow said.

Like many players from the Lone Star State, Crow grew up a fan of the Texas Longhorns. He makes no hesitation in discussing what his ultimate goal is at the moment.

"My goal is to go to Texas and play," he said. "I just grew up a big fan, Vince Young brought me in; l loved the way he played. I'm a big fan of them."

TCU sits just 35 minutes away from Azle and is another program Crow has watched growing up. He plans to attend a Frogs' mini-camp in Ft. Worth next month and hopes to earn more interest in the process.

"I really enjoy TCU, I like the way they play and like their defense," Crow said of the Frogs. "Everything about them is very good. I definitely like Coach Patterson; I like him as a coach."

Crow will make camp stops at Texas Tech, North Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Texas among others this summer.

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