Plenty of punch

Most coaches keep track of a defensive back's tackles, interceptions and pass breakups. South Fort Myers (Fla.) High School's Grant Readhead keeps an additional stat - knockouts.

That's because star safety Dallas Crawford sometimes leaves opponents too woozy to return to the huddle for the next play.

"The kid'll hit you now; I'm going to tell you that," said Readhead (pronounced RED-hed). "He had two of what we call 'knockouts' last season, where the opposing kid tried to get up, went back down and had to be helped off the field."

Crawford, a 5-11, 186-pounder, can do more than hit, though. That's why he has scholarship offers from nearly 30 major colleges, including Tennessee. He's also a superior pass defender.

"It's no small feat leading the state of Florida in interceptions," Readhead noted. "He intercepted 10 passes last fall, returning four for touchdowns. He had another nine breakups - probably four or five of which could've been picks but just slipped off his fingertips."

Crawford boasts a 4.51 clocking over 40 yards but the attribute that really catches recruiters' eyes is the spring in his legs.

"He has a 38-inch vertical, and that's being conservative," Readhead said. "He's gone over 40. He's made interceptions where his feet were at the other guy's waist."

Because of his superior agility and hip flexibility, Crawford projects to play cornerback in college. currently lists him as a 3-star recruit and ranks him No. 28 nationally among corner prospects.

"He plays free safety for me but half the time he locks up in man (coverage)," Readhead said. "He doesn't have to turn (out of his backpedal) and run as early as a lot of kids, and he breaks on the ball well. We also use him for pressure on the blitz."

Crawford might be an even more productive defender if he didn't expend so much energy on offense. He's also South Fort Myers' starting quarterback.

"He threw for 2,629 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, rushed for 438 yards and another eight touchdowns," Readhead said. "The kid's got a motor."

He's got a mind that's as quick as his feet, too.

"Dallas has got a knack for knowing what's going on offensively and defensively," Readhead said. "He has a great understanding of the game. Nothing ever gets by him.

"Defensively, he sets people up for picks. He's just got it mentally. He gets his body in the right spot every time."

The coach estimated that Crawford has "between 24 and 28 offers" thus far, including Ole Miss, LSU and Tennessee from the SEC.

"Florida came down this week to look at him," Readhead said, "but I don't know if they offered or not. Pitt, Rutgers, South Florida, Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Michigan, Purdue, Iowa and Indiana are some of the others who have offered.

Crawford was voted first-team All-District 16 and first-team All-Southwest Florida as a defensive back last fall. He was tabbed first-team All-Area quarterback by The Naples News, however, and is being recruited for UT by quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw.

"He's very, very physical," Readhead said of Crawford. "It's funny when people say that about a quarterback. But he has no problem tucking the ball and lowering his shoulder."

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