Positions, Options Abound

An Ohio defender with the skills to play several different positions has West Virginia among his top schools of interest.

St. Xavier's Fred Craig, a safety who could grow into a linebacker in college, has seen interest in him mushroom over the summer despite a relatively laid-back football pace. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has been concentrating on preparations for his senior season, and thus hasn't made a big road trip to numerous schools as some of his peers have done. That doesn't mean he hasn't been active, however, as his workouts over the summer have kept him "pretty busy".

"I had a trip scheduled to Vanderbilt, but I didn't make it," said Craig, who certainly isn't ruffled by the attention he is getting from some of the top schools in the country. "I did make it up to Northwestern, but my first priority is my high school team right now. I want to get my high school team taken care of before I start on college, so I haven't really set any visits up."

When he does, West Virginia is slated to be on his itinerary, along with Stanford, Duke Louisville, Cincinnati, Nebraska and Vanderbilt. Those seven make up Craig's list at the moment, and although he has offers from other schools, such as North Carolina State and Air Force, he is focusing on those seven as his senior year approaches.

"I still have a lot of interest in West Virginia," he said. "I see them in the top ten, and Coach Rodriguez is a great coach. His staff is really good too. It's an exciting time to be at West Virginia. They are building something really special."

Craig, who has driven through Morgantown but hasn't seen the campus, could make a visit this summer, but the visit might also wait for an official trip this fall. He, along with teammate Darius Ashley, are talking with each other about a possible joint venture.

"Darius and I are thinking about making a visit together. He's a little more into the recruiting thing right now than I am, but we keep each other posted about what is going on. We have talked about going to school together, and West Virginia, Louisville and Nebraska are the schools that overlap on our lists.

West Virginia would love to have either Ashley or Craig on its commitment list, but a doubleheader sweep would be even sweeter. The Mountaineers do have the chance to make that happen, but it figures to be a tough battle.

Craig's size and speed place him at safety for St. Xavier, but several schools think he could play linebacker as well. WVU, with a combined six positions to choose from (three safeties, three linebackers) provides a tantalizing opportunity for those players that project at either position.

It's not just playing time that holds Craig's interest, however. He has a list of additional priorities for college as well.

"I will be looking at academics – I want to go to a great academic school," he said. "After that, it's how I fit in with the coaching staff, the facilities, and the location of school. I want a school with a nice setup, and one that has a nice area around the campus."

While he does have a pared down list and several criteria in mind, Craig is not in a hurry to make his choice. He has not set any timetables or deadlines for a decision, and notes that he wants to wait and see how things develop.

As one might guess, Craig has a combination of skills that make him an excellent prospect at multiple positions on defense.

"I think my speed is my best asset," he said. "But I am a pretty physical player, too. My mentality is playing tough, all the time. I don't really have a preference for where I play, or what position. I've always been a defensive player, but whether I play linebacker or safety doesn't matter.


Craig is also a standout lacrosse player who had the option of concentrating on that sport, where he could have earned a college scholarship as well. However, he decided to focus on football and work for scholarships on the gridiron in college –- a decision that looks to have turned out very well.

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